A Moment for Mission
"'Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.' So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him." – Luke 8:39, NRSV
On May 10-20, the 2016 United Methodist General Conference convened in Portland, Oregon. Clergy and laity gathered from around the world for this quadrennial (every four years) meeting to shape the future of our church. Along with much business at hand during General Conference were moments of worship and celebration.
One was Imagine no Malaria, which began in 2008 with a fundraising goal of $75 million. By distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets and training health-care workers, United Methodists began to move toward eliminating malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Eight years and more than 2.3 million mosquito nets later, the denomination celebrated countless lives saved through the concerted effort of the people of The United Methodist Church acting for the transformation of the world.
Delegates and visitors also marked the 30th anniversary of the Disciple Bible Study. The focused studies feature daily readings and regular meetings with discussion and prayer – all facilitated by trained clergy or lay leaders. At a time when Bible readership in the United States is decreasing and fewer readers take time to reflect on how reading Scripture applies to their daily lives, this ministry is more important than ever.
Another cause for rejoicing was the upcoming (in 2019) 150th anniversary of what we now know as United Methodist Women.
As we move forward together as The United Methodist church, we can proclaim joyfully that God's work continues among us.
God, thank you for pioneers in ministry. Grant that we continue the work of making disciples for the transformation of the world as the body of Christ, united in love of you and our neighbors. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fifth Sunday After Pentecost - Holy God, we are grateful for the wonderful healing that you bring through Christ your Son. He teaches us to view ourselves and others with hope, knowing that you are able to restore even those who seem lost. Empower us by your Spirit to tell others how much you have done for us, so that they too will discover your grace. Use these offerings to support the ministries of our congregation to renew the sick in body, mind, and spirit. We ask this is Jesus' name. Amen. (Luke 8:26-39)
This May 10-20, United Methodist clergy and laity from across the globe converged upon Portland, Oregon, for General Conference, the quadrennial gathering of the church. These elected delegates determined budgets, reviewed legislation and cast votes. Yet, in the midst of this business, participants took time for prayer, worship, celebration and moments for reconciliation.
The United Methodist Church has been on a journey toward reconciliation and healing with indigenous people. At the 2008 General Conference, the church made a commitment to investigate the Sand Creek massacre of 1864 that involved a Methodist pastor. During the 2012 General Conference, "An Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous People" continued this journey of healing. At this year's General Conference, the church honored descendants of the Sand Creek Massacre as another step toward understanding and repentance.
While these are difficult conversations, it is a testimony to the work of reconciliation and the Spirit of God moving among us as United Methodists. Thanks to our apportioned gifts through the General Administration Fund, reconciliation happens.