We should consider it no coincidence that this last Annual Conference update arrives after we have just celebrated Pentecost Sunday.
Months ago, the Spirit began working in subtle, steady ways. One pocket of people began working on a clergy statement; others on a laity statement. Some began talking about a Facebook page; others began work on a delegation list. Some were in a larger conversation about a gathering in Kansas City; many smaller conversations were happening among all of us.
All these things were occurring throughout the Conference, unbeknownst to one another. Each group of people were simply being faithful to the part they felt called to fulfill, not at all realizing that their piece would eventually be critical to the whole.
Then, over these last several weeks, we began to experience what might be described as a convergence of the Spirit, a Pentecost moment, in which people from far and wide began to notice each other’s efforts, speaking in languages we could understand. And a mighty wind began to blow.
No one single person, and no one group of people, is responsible for all that UMCNextFL accomplished this week. This has become a movement of remarkable, faithful, decentralized leadership, one in which people simply fulfilled their part of the whole, without ego, for the sake of our common cause.
And that includes you. So, thank you.
There will be future communications as further plans develop. But for now, we invite you to spend these next several weeks remaining prayerful and attentive.
Pray for the delegation as it begins its work, and for the denomination’s preparations for General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
Pray for our Annual Conference, and the fracture lines that run deep among those who disagree.
Add to your summer reading from this list of recommended resources on the new UMCNextFL website. Click here.
Pray for opportunities to be in ministry to all marginalized persons, including those marginalized by race, socio-economic status, ability, citizenship, and others.
Most of all, continue to build pathways to LGBTQ inclusion in your life and ministry. This is Pride Month, so you might choose to help provide hospitality at your local pride parade, or commemorate in some way the anniversary of the Pulse shooting on June 12, or simply look for ways to remind someone that they are loved.
Your part may seem small – as insignificant as a single tongue of flame – but if there is anything we have learned this last week, every act of faithfulness matters. Because God puts all our pieces together in ways we can’t imagine.
Thank you for everything you did to make this such a significant, historic Annual Conference. Together, we were “filled with awe at the many wonders and signs” that we saw God perform this week.
Grace and Peace!