God answers the prayers of a sinful person. Even when we fail God, God is faithful to us. The sin of despair, anger, self-pity, and negitivity had taken hold of me pretty good. Yes, I still prayed, reading my Upper Room and Jesus Calling with Dale Smith each day. I also read the scriptures of the Moravian Daily Text and prayed through my prayer beads, but it all felt empty. Still I prayed for God's intervention in my life and ministry as I faced this sixth year as a DS.
I stumbled across a video of one of the candidates for the episcopacy in our South Eastern Jurisdiction. Her words grabbed my heart and brought me to tears. Yes, there is hope for the Church that is my family, for The United Methodist Church. I wrote her and thanked her for her words and for how I was given a glimmer of hope in the midst of the darkness. She responded and thanked me. I began to pray for her and her offer to serve as a Bishop in our UMC. Amazingly, when my birth mother was ill, I turned to the DS of the district she lived in (as she was unchurched) to find a pastor to visit and pray with her. To my surprise, it was this same woman. She was gracious and kind in my time of need.
God has a way, my beloved sisters and brothers. I tell you the above, because by now you have quessed. This candidate for the Episcopacy was none other than Dr. Sue Haupert-Johnson, our newly appointed Bishop.
Bishop Haupert-Johnson reminded me at Lake Junaluska that we went far back as aquaintances and how my prayers had helped her in this period. When it was her words and her prayers that brought light to my darkness again. Who would have known? Who would have thought? God has a way.
Sue Ellen Haupert-Johnson is a Florida native, having grown up in Lakeland, Florida. She attended the University of Florida and recieved a business and law degree. After a successful career as a lawyer, she answered God's call and went to Candler School of Theology. She has served as Associate, as Pastor of both small and large congregations. and has most recently served as DS of the North Central District.
Bishop Haupert-Johnson is married to the Rev. Allen Johnson, and they have a 14-year-old daughter, Samatha.
The Holy Spirit of God moved mightly at the SEJ, and not only saw the election of SEJ's first black female bishop, our own Bishop Sharma Lewis, but saw fit to rain down blessings upon North Georgia and gave us Bishop Haupert-Johnson to be our spiritual leader. Needless to say, I shouted and cried upon this historic announcement.
Please, pray for Bishop Haupert-Johnson, for Allen, and for Samatha. We want their time among us to be a blessing for all. I will share more at our Set Up Meeting on August 8.
Yes, God hears the prayers of us sinful people and loves us with blessings beyond imagination.