February 5th, 2023, Rev. Dr. Mark Charles
I was so encouraged last Sunday morning. Right after worship, Dr. Joan Averett had planned to gather as many as possible of our volunteer liturgists for a light lunch and some training in their craft. Did you know that across our four services we have more than 40 people on the rotation to serve in this way? Most of them were there last week and there was a real buzz in the room.
After morning worship, I jumped in the car and made the long journey to Lakeland, Florida, where, for the next four days, I would join in with the work of the Florida Conference Board of Ministry Interview Week (along with other Memorial members, Jessica Barber Scott and Carrie McCannell-Scruggs). Our work during this week is to interview all those seeking to serve the church as pastors (both Elders and Deacons.) It was the first time the Board had been able to meet in person for interviews since 2019 and, again, there was a real buzz in the room – a sense of joyful unity in the work we were undertaking for our Conference. And as the week progressed, our encouragement only increased as we met and interviewed some amazing candidates for ministry – in terms of the ordained community and the leadership they provide, the future of the United Methodist Church is one filled with hope.
At the liturgist training we had people from numerous backgrounds and of various ages in the room, all of them gathered to share in a common work – the leadership of worship in our church. And at the Board of Ministry Interview Week there were people from all over our state, from many different backgrounds, and of all ages who were also gathered to share in a common work. In both settings there was an unspoken understanding that we are stronger together in our mission and that there is much power in our connection, both locally and across our Conference and denomination.
All of this makes me excited to gather with you all this coming Sunday morning when we will start a new mini-series of sermons based on one of the prayers that Methodists throughout the world pray together – The Wesley Covenant Prayer.
I’ll see you there!