Monday, June 10, 2013

SWTX Annual Conference: Day 4

               Sunday! This particular morning was rather interesting in that it went by so quickly. The report on new church development was absolutely inspirational, the SWTX Conference has plans to start 14 new faith communities in our geographical area by the end of next year – I was going to make a motion we set a goal of 10 churches in 7 years, so needless to say I was out-dreamed. The issue of where to host our next gathering was brought forward, Corpus Christi has been hosting for quite a while, and so like usual it was expected we would return there once again next year. I went forward to ask if we would continue to meet at the same place after our conference – I was essentially told we’ll get there when we get there, but it’s a discussion I’m sure will continue later on. We got to applaud a lot of wonderful people that work for the conference and that do wonderful work with the poor and the marginalized. We also celebrated the act that $1 million of the the denomination-wide $50 million goal was met by our conference alone for Imagine No Malaria. God is doing great things in SWTX, of that I have no doubt.

               The appointments list was released, and so we moved to the worship Service of Covenants. It was a moving time seeing all of the new/returning appointees stand with their lay delegates and at the end everyone stood and prayed as one congregation. It was truly a blessed time, even if the awesome sermon by Reverend Jasmine Smothers came to steal the show. Her sermon stepped on every toe in the room, but it was a needed balm to our conference as it moves from the struggle of Thursday afternoon, and the drama of Saturday’s nomination battle. She challenged all of us to speak the truth humbly, and in love. We were warned about the way we speak and the methods of speaking we use bring about change in our Church and in our churches. Reverend Smothers stomped on the feet of the young clergy, reminding them to walk humbly; and she stomped on the feet of the elder members of the church who have grown comfortable and refuse to change to serve the purposes of the Kingdom. It was an awesome sermon and I was inspired by Reverend Smothers.

               One of the most wonderful things for me this weekend was getting to fellowship with so many awesome retired clergy. It was so cool to hear their stories and especially to see the light that comes to their eyes when they recall their first appointments. It was so great to talk with a bunch of Methodists who are much more advanced in years than I am, oftentimes we pit the young and old against one another in struggles for power just like the world does, but it is so refreshing to be in an Annual Conference where young and old aren't struggling with one another – but they are walking hand-in-hand on their way to serve the Lord with gladness making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I was blessed this year, I struggled with our conference, but I couldn't help but walk away blessed.