Strands of Unity
"Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6
Dear Faith friends,
The time has finally come for the Special-Called Session of General Conference (the official decision-making body of the UMC) which will focus on the United Methodist Church’s ministry with our LGBTQ sisters and brothers. As I make final preparations to travel to St. Louis later this week, I do so with great apprehension but also with great hope. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. Please continue to be in prayer for your North Texas Delegation and for all the Delegates (864 people – half laity, half clergy) from around our global United Methodist connection during this historic gathering on February 23-26. Also please pray for the Council of Bishops, for the volunteers, for the communicators, and for all guests. Pray for those who will be following the proceedings online, and pray for those who will be actively protesting at the convention center. Most of all, I hope you will join me in praying that the powerful presence and movement of the Holy Spirit will be experienced in mighty ways.
In the midst of the legislative wrangling and political maneuvering, may we all be reminded of our oneness in Christ. May we all acknowledge the deep pain that is felt by so many, and may we all seek forgiveness for the times we have not been the disciples and have not been the denomination that God is calling us to be. As followers of Jesus and as members of the UMC, we are not all of one mind on many issues including same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbian persons. However, I believe that our church, our denomination, and our God are big enough for us all and together, we are better.
My family and friends understand that my fierce independence and unfortunate stubborn streak are among the traits that make me reluctant to join in most group statement-making activities. However, during this General Conference, I will proudly be wearing my pearls as part of the “Strands of Unity” movement. Begun by United Methodist clergy women in Louisiana earlier this week, this prayer effort will be a daily, visual reminder that no two pearls are alike and neither are two Methodist, but we are still more useful, stronger, and more beautiful together.
As delegates from around our world gather, I pray that we remember that we are all tied together in Christ. I pray that we will be loving enough to always see Jesus in each other’s faces, humble enough to earnestly listen to voices that differ from our own, bold enough to speak truth in love, strong enough to stand firmly in peace when the winds of conflict blow, attentive enough to bear witness to the grace and growth all around us, and faithful enough to continue striving toward the heart of God. In faith, Serena
~ If you would like to join us in wearing pearls (or other beads) as a symbol of unity and prayer leading up to and during the dates of General Conference, please do so. I’d love to see your pictures!