Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year, New Opportunity to Pray

   With the change of the calendar into 2016, United Methodists from around the world begin more earnestly preparing for one of the key components of our denominations' connectional structure: General Conference. At least a dozen of you are asking, "What is that?"
   The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body will meet at the Oregon Convention Center, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest, on May 10-20, 2016. General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church which meets once every four years. The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs. As you can imagine, topics including sexuality, who can be ordained, and/or what place does the Bible have in the life of the church, are all on the table when we gather every four years (and all the days in between). We need to pray now...
   Funny you should mention that. General Conference begins 131 days after the New Year. By coincidence, there are 131 annual (regional) conferences in The United Methodist Church. The UMC wants to use each of these days to bath General Conference in prayer. The Council of Bishops has invited each of the annual conferences to host a 24-hour prayer effort. The South Georgia Conference's 24-hour prayer vigil is set for Friday, January 22.
   Eight-hundred sixty-four (864) delegates, half of them being clergy and half of them laity from local churches around the world, have been elected to serve. In Tifton this past June, four clergy delegates from South Georgia were elected: Rev. Don Adams, Dr. Buddy Cooper , Rev. Jay Hanson, and Dr. Bob Moon. Rev. Jim Cowart and Rev. Denise Walton were also selected to serve as alternates, and will be attending. I was humbled to be one of the other clergy elected as an alternate. In addition to the May meeting in Portland, these same clergy and South Georgia's laity delegates will attend a the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July to select the Bishops serving in the fifteen annual conferences around us. (I am prayerfully considering attending some of the General Conference in Portland, as well.)
   We all know it is never to early to begin praying. May we start this year praying for the Spirit of the Living God to lead our church in Bonaire and around the world! Grace and Peace, Scott

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