Grace to you and Peace! We are in the midst of Holy Week, a most sacred time in the life of Christians. It is a time to remember that Jesus was killed on Good Friday because of the collision of normal society and what Jesus proclaimed in living out the love of God for all people, no matter who they were. We are reminded that when we follow the way of Jesus, we are called to love boldly and not allow individuals or systems of power to treat others as less than children loved by God. But to do so, may lead to disdain or even retribution by others.
We in the Southeast Conference seek to witness to this love in various ways: welcoming all to accompany us on the journey of faith; working for social justice; reaching out to the disenfranchised; caring for all creation. But we can do this best when we work together and support one another. For me, this is the most important reason for our Conference Annual Meeting. It is not just about business, although some business will occur. It is not just about fellowship, but fellowship will occur. It is about inspiring each other, encouraging each other, learning from each other, supporting one another to be a witness to God’s love in our communities and throughout the Conference. We have a unique voice that needs to be heard in the midst of a hurting world!
Have you registered yet for Annual Meeting? Remember that it is earlier this year (May 31-June2) and it is being held at Pleasant Hill Community Church, Pleasant Hill, TN. I have heard some people celebrate because it is geographically closer to them this year. I have also heard some people who wished it was not so far from them. Because of our large geography, there is always travel! But how exciting it is to be able to spend a few days with others who share some common values and who are excited about strengthening our ministries, whether those ministries are through a local church or a specialized ministry such as chaplaincy or pastoral care.
We will welcome Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer who serves as the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ and hear about exciting things that are happening in the national setting of the UCC. There will be three opportunities to choose between 21 workshops! For those who are able to continue in fellowship until Sunday morning, there will be even more workshops as well as fellowship time and worship.
As we move into the Easter season, we are reminded that it is a season of hope, possibilities, and affirmation for the work that we do in the name of the Risen Christ!