A Season of Firsts
By Lynn Dyke
This is the “appointment season” in the United Methodist world, for we have a rather unique way of naming seasons. We skip over the traditional “winter, spring, summer and fall” for our own “seasons.” Charge Conference season – Advent – End of the Year statistic season (that’s thankfully short though painful) – Lent – Appointment Season – Moving Season … and then we start the whole thing over again! This is the season of “appointments” – that season when many sit on the edge of their seats, and the lives of churches and pastors are disrupted to begin something new.
A year ago I joined those moving as I moved to be district superintendent in a new district. There were 98 new churches (and two second sites) and all their pastors to meet. I knew a little bit about the Ozarks, yet districts had combined and, as you know, much changes in four years. It’s been a year of something new.
And somewhere along this season of firsts, God began tugging at my heart. There is a long story, yet the short story is that I was endorsed as a candidate for the episcopacy by the Jurisdiction’s Women’s Leadership Team – an endorsement that the Missouri Conference delegation supported. While that means all sorts of things, specifically that has meant that Bob Farr and I have spent weekends interviewing with other delegations. In five fast weekends we each met with delegations of the Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Northwest Texas, New Mexico, North Texas, Central Texas, Rio Texas, Texas, Louisiana, Great Plains, and Missouri Conferences. In those 45-60 minute conversations, folks asked us every imaginable question about what we might do if we were elected bishop, what we believed, what our experiences had taught us, how people would describe us, and any other question they could come up with. It was a whirlwind, it was a gift, it was humbling, and it opened my eyes in so many ways. For so many prayers, I am thankful.
My season of firsts is winding down. Yet before I get to Annual Conference there are many new appointments for the Bishop to make. And then someone else (and probably lots of someone else’s) will begin a season of firsts in new places.