Connections: Annual Conference 2018

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.

I look forward to greeting many of you as we gather in Greenville next week. We gather in the long tradition of Methodist people. We are a connectional family and so we gather to build bonds of friendship and colleagueship and the gospel of Christ.

We connect with old friends and make new friends and deepen all of our personal relationships with one another. We gather secondly to be inspired. The preaching and teaching of the Annual Conference session equips us for the ministry that we anticipate in the days ahead. Third, we gather to make decisions around our common life, to attend to our polity, our organization. In all of these ways, we are strengthened to serve Christ in the world.

On Monday, the cabinets of the Western North Carolina Conference and the North Carolina Conference will meet in Durham with Bishop Leeland and me. We do this regularly in order to connect in ministry across our state. We will continue to think and pray and share together about processes in ministry that are working well, about practices that are fruitful, about ways that we might continue our collaboration in Christ’s ministry.

On Tuesday, the cabinet and I meet for our annual day of retreat, in which we look at the year that has passed and evaluate and remember and give thanks for all that has been and we project into the year to come, the ways in which we will convene for the fall charge conferences, the emphases which the Holy Spirit seems to be bringing forth from across our annual conference, the ways that we might live and work together in even greater effectiveness and energy.

All of these gatherings next week are moments of Christ’s livening spirit in us. In this season after Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, let us pray and anticipate the movement of that same spirit in a mighty way upon the people called Methodist in North Carolina next week.