Due to the far-reaching impact of this General Conference, I’m inviting everyone to pray this simple prayer each day at 10 AM: Everlasting God, as you did at Pentecost, pour out your Holy Spirit on our General Conference in Portland. Guide every decision so your will can be done on earth as it is in heaven. For the sake of Jesus Christ and his church. Amen. You can pray this prayer wherever you are beginning Tuesday, May 10 and continue praying each day at 10 AM through Friday, May 20. We believe more prayer releases more power. When God’s people pray in unity, it delights the heart of God and creates space for God’s love to prevail and God’s will to be done. In very real ways, the future of our church rests on the prayers of its people.
We choose to not see each other as the enemy. I know and trust that she loves Jesus, the Bible and people at least as much as I do. If our denomination is ever going achieve a “Catholic Spirit” we must start with mutual respect and love and stop the divisive rhetoric that paints one another into categories of “heretic” or “hater.” In order for that to happen we must individually develop genuine friendships with colleagues on the other side of the fence and engage in difficult dialog seeking to understand before we are understood.
Many issues will be debated and decided including the role of the pastor, the “Imagine No Malaria” initiative, missionary support, the planting of new churches, the appointment of pastors, the accountability of bishops, the issue of human sexuality, as well as many other social and theological issues. These topics (and many more) will all be on the table. Many of these concerns to be addressed are the same issues that we face in our culture and world at large. And the sad reality is, we are as divided as a Church as we are in our nation and world. Virtually every contentious topic is presented in an “either/or” scenario and it’s hard to find unity. Maybe that’s why Jesus prayed so hard for his followers to be united in heart and mission.