The Conference = US!
I’m always amused—and occasionally sad—when United Methodist Christians talk about our connectional system and identify “the Conference” as “them”. An annual conference is the group of United Methodist Christians who live out their mission and ministries in any one area. Our conference is The North Carolina Annual Conference. Linked together we witness for the Risen Lord, do Jesus’ work, announce the Kingdom, and celebrate God’s grace in a way that has shaped our communities, our state, our nation, and the world to know such beauty. “The Conference” is literally a means of grace for us. “The Conference” is literally us, the United Methodist Christians of the Eastern 56 counties of NC. The Conference = US!
Naturally, any annual conference—or the conferences linked together into the general church—doesn’t always get along or agree, even on some huge topics. Our current denominational debates on human sexuality and the underlying questions of biblical warrant, church authority and process testify to that reality. But no group of people with whom I am involved always gets along: that includes my family, circles of my friends, and certainly our broader society.
Still, it is when we stay in relationship with each other that we grow and develop spiritually. The Bible is full of such examples: The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) or any of the apostolic meetings recorded throughout Paul’s letters.
There is no better embodiment of the grace of conferencing than what we will get to experience at the 2017 Session of The NC Annual Conference, June 16-18 in Greenville, NC. This year—as announced last year—we are meeting over a weekend to give laity a better opportunity to be involved without so much time away from their work.
You and I may or may not agree with everything that any given session of Annual Conference does. But it is our brothers and sisters—and often we, ourselves—who act at Annual Conference. That is a joy because it is a part of being the Body of Christ, the Church.
I look forward to Annual Conference and to seeing many of you there.
The Conference – US!
Thanks be to God.
If you would like to print or share this edition of Hello from Harvey,
you are encouraged to do so with this pdf:
Hello from Harvey – THE CONFERENCE = US
If you would like to view past editions of Hello from Harvey, follow this link: https://capitaldistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/