March 1, 2016
March 1, 2016
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Susquehanna Annual Conference,
Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness, and Hope of the World!
Within a little more than two months the 2016 General Conference, under the banner "Therefore Go," will assemble in Portland, Oregon. Each Annual Conference has chosen a day to intentionally be in prayer for 24 hours for the General Conference. I would like to remind you that the Susquehanna Conference has identified March 4, World Day of Prayer, as our day to pray. Please find a time during this day to be in prayer specifically for the General Conference either as individuals or as a community. I encourage our pastors and laity to be in prayer for the General Conference also during the Sunday morning services up to and through General Conference. You will find resources for the day of prayer in the conference website at susumc.org/gcprayervigil.
The names of the delegates are listed on the website. I would ask you to pray for them now and during General Conference that they might be an open vessel to receive the anointing of God's Spirit for such a time as this. The amount of work that they will do in advance of General Conference, and then at the conference site, is overwhelming. Each day's work is very demanding; the conferencing can at times be very challenging and difficult; and the discernments and decisions they are asked to make are often so heavy and critical. I also would ask you to pray for those who will provide leadership during the conference, including the bishops who, while they do not vote, are responsible for presiding over the sessions. I would encourage you to watch the live streaming. The worship services and the preaching are phenomenal. Our conference media team will provide reports so that we all receive accurate and up-to-date information.
In many respects, a General Conference is a microcosm of the world in terms of diversity of people, races, languages, nationalities, and theologies. As United Methodists we are a very diverse people and pluralistic in our theologies and points of view. John Wesley saw the General Conference sessions as a time for holy conferencing and for the people called Methodists to come to table and fellowship together even with our varying points of view. While we embrace the gift of diversity please pray for the spirit of unity in our church.
Let's be reminded that in the midst of all the conversations and everything that happens, God is still God, and God is in charge of the church called United Methodist for the sake of its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and that the words to "be with us always" are a guaranteed promise from the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Jeremiah J. Park
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