December 8 – Second Sunday of Advent/Episcopal Fund

A Moment for Mission

"May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor." —Psalm 72:4, NRSV

Prior to her election to the United Methodist episcopacy in 2016, Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling served as dean of the cabinet of the New England Annual Conference and as the Boston Hope District superintendent. Before entering the ministry, she worked as a human resources manager and director, and as a prosecuting attorney. 

This rich and varied experience was evident as Easterling reflected on the spring 2019 meeting of the Council of Bishops. "We engaged in deep discussion," she said, "and labored both to speak and to listen to one another with patience and love. That is harder to do at some times than others; yet, we believe we have the responsibility to do so. There is no one-size-fits-all, quick transition into this new reality. The journey matters as much as the destination."

Easterling recalled a comment that followed one intense conversation. "Well, we are going to arrive at a new place eventually." She replied, "But will we have any love left in us when we get there?"

"How we listen and respond to one another, speak of and about one another, criticize and critique one another matters greatly," Easterling asserted. "As we committedly and earnestly walk through this season of United Methodism, I pray that we remember who and whose we are."

When we support the Episcopal Fund, we enrich the ministry of visionary leaders like Easterling, who strive to "promote faithfulness in our mission, prevent harm and respect our diversity."

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, thank you for the bishops who lead our denomination. Show us new ways to support them in their ministry. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday in Advent — God of new beginnings, this morning we bring not just our gifts of money, but our very lives. We know we have fallen short of who you've call us to be. We have heard the call of John the Baptist to a time of repentance, and we know that call is for all of us. Help us to travel the journey of Advent with the resolve to live lives that more closely resemble the hope you have for us. May all that we dedicate here empower us and others to change direction and set our sights on a closer walk with your Son, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen. (Matthew 3:1-12)

Newsletter Nugget
"We are disciples of Jesus Christ," said Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. "We are called to make disciples and to model the One who called us into this transforming relationship. The question and corresponding response of Micah 6:8 applies to all—lay and clergy: 'He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.'

"We are creating safe and bold spaces, teams and resources to listen to one another and guide our journey," she added. "We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive church … that values everyone as a child of God. I pray you will invest yourselves deeply in the work so that you may contribute to godly, sound and faithful decisions in the days to come."

Through the Episcopal Fund, you support Easterling and her colleagues. Thank you!

—Adapted from a reflection by Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, May 10, 2019