"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29: 11 (NIV)
This verse is perfect for our graduating seniors. They should memorize it and carry it with them always. They have prepared and planned for this day, and now they have another step to take in this journey of life. Many of us have gone through that milestone and many others over the years. It isn’t always what we thought it would be. Sometimes our life takes turns that are discouraging, and, at other times, we are so blessed we can’t sit still. Either way, we know as Christians that God is ultimately in control…and that’s okay with me. Keep both of these young men in your prayers as they navigate life.
On June 6 and 7, the West Ohio Annual Conference will be meeting “virtually.” This year, along with Gary Miley (Lay Delegate) and me, this church has three other representatives as Lay Delegates at Large. (There are more clergy than laity, so they need to sign up more laity as delegates each year to try and get a balance.) The other three are: Eric Minamyer, Doug Moore, and Larry Smith. There have been some informational Zoom gatherings that explained many of the Recommendations that are coming up for vote. The first three Recommendations deal with the budget & finances, equitable compensation for staff/clergy, and health and benefits. Pretty standard routine.
Then next three are, well, let me list the names for you. #4: Delegation Resolution Re: Christmas Covenant. This is designed to allow the U. S. Methodists to make changes in operating procedures different than in other countries. Not changing the Book of Discipline, but a sneaky way to set up changes for future alterations in the BOD. #5: Loved as the Image of God. This, too, sounds good on the surface but is designed to set the stage for future changes in the BOD. And, #6: Call to West Ohio Annual Conference to Recognize and Validate Persons' Calls to Ordination Without Prejudice Toward Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. Long name, but it explains the direction of each of these Recommendations. They are all designed as an end run to get around not being able to get the Book of Discipline changed in a straight-forward vote. So, they work around and dabble a bit here and another little bit there until, voila, they now call on precedent of previous actions and votes to say, “This has been settled in this area already. How can we do otherwise?”
The strategy hasn’t changed, some are subtle and others aren’t. The main tactic they have is to play on people’s emotions…and it works many times. They tell people how compassionate Jesus is and that, as Christians, we have to be that and more. What they don’t do is stand on doctrine and past traditions. With all of that said, please keep the Annual Conference in your prayers, that people would look at these Recommendations logically, Scripturally, prayerfully, and with a Spiritual insight.
There is one more thing, at the end of this month, Dona and I will have wrapped up 3 years here at Maineville UMC! Wow! You all have been so gracious to us, and we tell everyone how blessed we are to be here. We have shared your joys with the little ones and your sorrows with the losses of loved ones. Life continues on and we pray for all of you. I’m not sure how our attendance will level out. Right before we had the virus hit, we were getting close to 70 for Sundays. We have kept a good average throughout this last year or so. (And many churches are just now opening!) It has been good to have the separation tape come down and now, with the masks gone, to see your smiling faces. I look forward to regaining our momentum and, prayerfully, adding to our membership. Remember, this is the church where we worship God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It’s a wonderful place to build relationships, with God and other worshippers. And enjoy holidays together; by the way, have a Happy Father’s Day!
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10: 25) God bless.