Dear friends and colleagues,
In 3 short days the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will begin its fortnight of meetings in Portland, OR. The General Conference meets once every four years and is the only body that can set official beliefs and policies for the United Methodist Church as recorded in our “Book of Discipline”.
For the second time, I will attend the conference as a clergy delegate from the Holston Conference, which is comprised of all the United Methodist Churches in East TN and Southwest VA. To represent my colleagues and the churches of the Holston Conference in this manner is one of the highest professional honors I can imagine and one of the most humbling tasks I have ever taken up. To all of you who I represent, please know that your confidence in me and your prayers for me mean the world to me. I will do all I can to represent you faithfully and courageously while in Portland and to never forget that the point of Portland is to enable more powerfully ministry in places as close to home as Lenoir City and Bristol and as far away as South Sudan.
I will be blogging daily during General Conference to try to keep you informed of the issues at hand. My blogs will be posting on Twitter @RevWilC as well as on Facebook. If you have questions for me or perspectives to share, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to respond to email as much possible. If I am unable to respond directly to your email due to the full schedule of General Conference, please know that I still appreciate your thoughts and will use them to inform my thinking about the many issues before us.
Though our denomination faces many challenges, I have never been more thankful for the denomination in which I discovered a genuine faith in Jesus Christ and the joy of knowing and serving Him. The Apostle Paul advises us to “guard (our) prayers with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). Even as we consider challenges strong enough to pull our fellowship apart, let’s take this weekend to give God thanks for the way we have come to His unfailing love and matchless grace through the United Methodist Church. It is my prayer that in doing so, we will find something to celebrate that is strong enough to hold us together through the conflicts we bemoan.
Grace and peace to you all.