Seeking First...the Kingdom of God
Dearest friends in Christ Jesus,
As we stand on the edge of another Annual Conference session so many things are claiming our attention. Our world which of course includes this nation has been pummeled with natural disasters. Tornadoes and flooding are hitting at the same time. For some in our bounds it is defining reality for the foreseeable future.
I want to thank you for all that you have done to date to respond. You have responded in prayer, presence, gifts, service and witness. You are difference makers. I can’t help but imagine the weariness of first responders. The thoughts of these are only seasoned by the images, stories and thoughts that I have of those who have been in the path of wind and water. Their courage and hope gives us all strength to keep on keeping on.
In this issue of The Current and on our conference website you will find many ways that you can connect to make a difference in the aftermath of these destructive Spring Storms. Thank you in advance for your generosity as you give of your time, physical energies, financial gifts and prayers.
In the most recent issue of The Current,
I focused on aspiration and intention as we head into Annual Conference. I commend that piece to you again at www.igrc.org/blogs/detail/136
We will do many important things while in Peoria June 1-4. Everything matters.
The election of delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences may well be one thing an Annual Conference does that has impact across time and relationships. I trust that you are thinking and praying about those that your votes will send forth to serve. To serve as a delegate to the General and/or Jurisdictional Conference is a magnificent honor and privilege. It is a huge responsibility and a lot of hard work.
As you consider the delegation you would like to see keep this in mind. With a keen grasp of the church as it is keep in mind also of the future of The United Methodist Church. Throughout the Book of Discipline, there are references and reminders that we are a diverse church and we exist and serve in a diverse world. We ought to be no less aware of that diversity when we send forth a delegation to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
`In Professor Laurence Hull Stookey’s This Day: A Wesleyan Way of Prayer, we have available to us a wonderful prayer for Christian Conferencing:
You have called us, O God
to do the work of your church
as careful and efficient stewards.
To this end we bind together our congregations
and govern them through the work
of Conferences in which we consult
and consider together
pressing matters before the church.
Give wisdom and vision to those who serve us
as members of Annual Conference.
Let not the weariness of their duties distract them
nor the emotion of the issues they face prejudice them
in the decisions they make.
Enable them to seek first your kingdom and its righteousness. Amen.