By Brian Hammons
This message from Paul to the people of Philippi was one of the key scripture passages that helped the members of our General Conference delegation as we prepared for the 2016 conference for which we were elected to serve. And along with other scripture, it’s helpful to us now as we review proposals, hear of concerns, and prayerfully prepare for the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019.
It’s helpful to ponder these words:
“Do not worry.”
“Prayer and supplication.”
“The peace of God.”
In the weeks to come there will be much listening, discussing, praying, and probably speculating by pastors, laity leaders, and many congregation members. Probably a little worrying too. The members of our delegation feel all that in an even heightened way, with the responsibility of preparing to participate in the decision-making process. So turning to Scripture is very helpful, to remind us of who we are and whose we are – as Wesleyan Christians in the United Methodist Church. We will continue to share other helpful messages from Scripture as we seek wisdom and discerning hearts, praying and trusting in God for the future of the Methodist movement.
We also will continue to remember our “shared values” that we affirmed before the 2016 conference:
- Be Christ-centered
- Pray & Discern.
- Show Respect & Honesty
- Listen & Contribute
- Maintain Confidentiality & Integrity
- Affirm Diversity with Unity
- Practice Accountability & Collaboration
- Keep the Focus – Remember Our Mission and “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing!”
In preparation for the 2019 Conference, members of our Missouri delegation have participated in a jurisdictional gathering to hear details and discuss with delegates from other conferences the three plans presented by the Commission on a Way Forward. We are attending and listening carefully at the district sessions in our conference hosted by Bishop Farr. We are meeting in November and early February to discuss the plans and petitions to be presented at the Conference, share insights, learn of questions and concerns expressed through the district sessions and direct communications, and pray together.
Please know that the members of our Missouri Conference delegation – your elected representatives – are taking this responsibility very seriously and will need your prayers as we seek God’s guidance in a Way Forward for our United Methodist Church and the entire Methodist movement. In the meantime, we’re all thankful to be part of the Missouri Conference where God is working amazingly through the people, congregations, and leaders of our church to make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform lives, communities, even our world.
Yes, I’m still EXCITED to be a United Methodist Christian in the Missouri Conference! Thanks again for all your prayers and Spirit-led leadership!