I hadn’t intended to make a running article about charge conferences despite having used them as my foil in the last “Hello from Harvey,” but the over-all content of the conferences has been so encouraging – and the spiritual context so beautiful — I have to share.
In case you haven’t had yours yet – and most have not – at one point I ask the people present to talk about how they are serving God and their neighbors in our current moment through the witness of their churches. I have had some God-inspired things: “I’ve learned that church truly isn’t a building; I always knew that but now I really know it;” “I am thankful for all the things that are keeping my church together even when we are apart;” “I have learned (again) that love is an action word, not an emotion;” “Nothing’s changed: God is in control;” “I’m grateful for being United Methodist, I know I’m connected to the whole church through my congregation;” “I’m wondering about whether or not I concentrate on situations (like the current troubles) or God; God says concentrate there.” And more and more.
Those comments are encouraging because as one other person observed, “God is not sitting still and neither are we!” Naturally there have been concerns expressed and there are feelings of all sorts about the pandemic, social unrest and the quest for justice, the divisive election, and local questions.
But I point to the words of one saint who said recently, “God is at work in my church and our world. Don’t worry.” Well, lots of us worry but the inspiring thing has been that hearing what God is doing in the church is assuring. Assuring that God continues to act for us; assuring that the Gospel still rings true; assuring that as the church is shaping our world and being shaped by the world’s sufferings we are moving to a day when the Kingdom is fully visible.
Who would have thought it: charge conference the place to see God at work in the church!
I am closing each conference with a version of a quote from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. (15:13)
As that is true at charge conference so may that be true for you.
Happily on my way to a charge conference,
If you would like to view past editions of Hello from Harvey, follow this link: https://capitaldistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/