I know some of us are on the periphery of what’s going on this weekend in Saint Louis, and I envy you that position; but whether you are deeply invested in what happens at our called General Conference or whether you couldn’t possibly care less, I hope you will be intentionally and fervently in prayer for all the saints of God who are gathering to envision together God’s future for the United Methodist Church.
Also, know that whatever decisions are made or not made this weekend, First United Methodist Church, Bristol, will still be a strong and vibrant and welcoming congregation; and it is my intention to shepherd us into a brilliant future together.
But for now, pray.
Pray for each of the delegates from the Holston Conference. Their names and pictures are published in our newsletter.
Pray for the other delegates around the world. Maybe you know some of them.
Pray for each person who has a deeply held conviction about the future God has in mind for The United Methodist Church: I have those deeply held convictions, myself, and they don’t agree with the convictions many of my colleagues hold just as deeply. It turns out only God knows best.
Pray for each person who is going to be deeply hurt by decisions that are made or not made at General Conference.
Pray to be a vessel of healing for at least one of those persons.
Pray for the staff of America’s Center Convention Complex, for the staff of hotels hosting our delegates and General Conference attendees, for wait staff at area restaurants, for the residents of Saint Louis who will be working around distracted and stressed delegates.
Pray big prayers.
Pray deep prayers.
And when General Conference has ended, keep praying. On the Sunday of General Conference, we will worship and pray together. On the Sunday following General Conference, the Clinch Mountain District will gather at Lebanon Memorial United Methodist Church at 3:00 to debrief.
And life will go on.
And we will need each other’s prayers.
So keep praying. God is listening. God is intervening. God is still speaking.