PEORIA -- The question God asks each of us is, "Why are you here?" Our answer is of eternal significance.
Striking a jazzy, soulful mood with the story of the prophets Elijah and Elisha as a backdrop, the Rev. Melva Graham England, pastor of Galesburg First UMC, asked those in attendance, "Are we bold enough to pick up the mantle, ask for a double share and risk it all for Jesus Christ?"
In recalling the Old Testament story, England observed, "Sometimes, it looks like the end of the road but it's not. For all his faithfulness, Elijah still has to flee to the desert. Not only did he think it was the end of the road, he asks for it to be."
"We are not intended to be a group of people maintaining the status quo nor are we to be a retreat center," England said. "We are to be a power-filled agent of change sent to transform the world. Do we dare to ask for a double share of God's Spirit?"
During the service, clergy, clergy spouses and lay members to annual conference who have died in the past year were remembered in a video Roll of the Dead. The music included such selections as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Soon and Very Soon and Down By the Riverside performed by the Ed Kaizer Jazz Quintet and the Heritage Ensemble, both of Peoria.