In just 11 days, brothers and sisters of the United Methodist Church will gather in St. Louis to make decisions for the church, people in the church and out of the church, and in some way attempt to navigate something that will, without a doubt, have an impact on the general church, the local church, our church, and the Kingdom of God.
With such a moment in time and history in front of us, I believe that individually and collectively we here at Calvary need to be on our knees, seeking the face of God, praying “thy kingdom come, they will be done,” and whatever else the Holy Spirit lays on our hearts. I usually pray my way around something - praying over the parts I can see and then, trusting God to hear when I don’t know how to pray over the parts I can’t see. Scripture says the Holy Spirit will intercede when we don’t know how to pray. I’ve relied on the Holy Spirit day after day after day since I came to Christ.
Let me offer a couple of thoughts:
There will be prayer direction and follow up conversation from General Conference the next three weeks in this Leader’s Update section.
Monday night - 2/25 - I’m inviting you, as a member of the Body of Christ, to gather at Calvary at 6:30pm to pray together as you are able. That’s the Monday before decisions are made on Tuesday, 2/26. We’ll meet in the Parlor (and hopefully need to move to the worship center if we outgrow the Parlor).
After the General Conference Session on the 26th, I will, to the best of my ability and understanding, share what happened and how decisions made there might affect Calvary. My guess is there will be a lot of questions on procedure even after General
Conference is over. I may need a bit of time to process, so please exercise the spiritual gift of patience.
Please be in prayer this week for the General Conference. Below is a suggested prayer activity for each day this week.
Give your ideas about the General Conference over to God - in others words: your views of General Conference, your views of the options, your views of notions and beliefs - give them over to God. Give the good, the bad, the confusion, and the unknown to God. Pray the name of Jesus over them and offer them God.
Pray over our delegates who are going. I know these folks and they are good people who love the Lord. We don’t agree on everything, but they are our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
Clergy: Sylvester Weatherall, Andy Adams, Sara Isabell, Chris Ritter, Bob Phillips
Alternates: Randy Robinson, Roger Ross, Jan Griffith
Laity: Rhonda Whitaker, Bunny Wolfe, Kim Woods, Steve Shonert, Larry Weber
Alternates: Marian McCray, Anish Hermon, Carol Sims
Pray over the Bishops who are presiding over the conference. Pray for wisdom, discernment, capacity to help everyone stay focused, and grace to lead through the strong feelings and disagreements.
Pray over the witness of the church to the city of St. Louis and to the rest of the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit help us to be at our best in disagreement. Pray that love and grace are left in the ears of those who hear our dialogue.
Begin to pray for a peace that passes all understanding to settle into the venue, into the delegates, into the Church as a whole.
Pray that God would speak a word to people everywhere to be still and know that He is God. Again, begin to pray the name of Jesus over those who are starting the journey to St. Louis. Pray for all of those who will help with the logistics as delegates arrive.
This is a day set aside for prayer in St. Louis. Please pray with them: Come Holy Spirit, come. Come Holy Spirit, come.
Post Conference Briefings:
Bishop Beard will be hosting Post-General Conference Briefings.
The link to sign up is https://www.igrc.org/newsdetail/12748295You MUST register to go. If one of the sites below is not listed at the website, that means the site has filled.
Saturday, March 2 -- Champaign Faith UMC, 10 a.m.
Monday, March 4 -- Willow Hill UMC, East Peoria, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 -- Geneseo First UMC, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 9 -- O'Fallon First UMC, 10 a.m.
Thursday, March 14 -- Harrisburg First UMC, 6:30 p.m.