The lessons continue from this year’s virtual charge conferences continue.
And the inspiration I get from lay people’s testimonies in response to the questions of how are they loving God and neighbor continues to grow.
Recently a lady told me that the current situation – by which she said she meant pandemic, societal unease, divisive electoral rhetoric, and denominational uncertainties – simply reminded her of how she longs for connection, connection to God and to other people.
I identify with that longing and at hard moments with the sense that something is off-kilter in that it is so hard at times to feel connected in the ways that I did not all that long ago. I have a few friends with whom I have to tread carefully when we talk the election; the same is true of denominational life. The same is true of social questions. The same is true about the pandemic! Whew.
So I was greatly encouraged when that speaker was answered by another member of her local church who said that he tries to talk with folks about what really matters to them and that in that sharing he was often still able to connect with people with whom he might otherwise be at odds.
I have been pondering that long and hard. And last week I got further pondering when in a class I am taking about how to lead we wound up talking about aspirations and values as the gifts that have customarily united the Church. My cohort was brought up short when asked how long has it been since aspirations and values were the topic of conversation. Many of us had to confess that our discussions have been so topical that the underlying values – how we experience and convey God’s love to others, how we are caring for the church God has put in our hands, how we are acting toward the people we say we respect – are not always the first things honored or held up for everyone to testify about.
I am going to change that. I will be talking about my values and aspirations. Those parts of me are not very different I have learned from the aspirations and values of people I value who may well disagree with me about some of the topics at hand.
That is a hope and a lesson from charge conference.
I will share one more time (and only one I promise) from the front-line of charge conference. But thank you, friends, for the things you are teaching me.
See you at the charge conference!
If you would like to view past editions of Hello from Harvey, follow this link: https://capitaldistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/