My first trip to Annual Conference was as a Youth Delegate. Leon Goodman and I went to Glenn Memorial UMC as youth representatives of Pomona United Methodist Church in the Griffin District. My dad was the Pastor of the Pomona-Mt. Zion Charge in those days. I had no idea then that I’d be attending Annual Conference for the majority of the rest of my life. I’ve only missed two Annual Conferences, one when I had meningitis/encephalitis in 2009; the other when Sharon began her Clinical Trial for Kidney Cancer in 2015.
There have been some really special Annual Conferences for me. I was ordained Deacon in 1979 and then Elder in 1983. Those were very special years. Our daughter was born the day after my Elder ordination. Which means Sharon was as pregnant as pregnant could be the night she stood with me to become a Full Connection Member of the North Georgia Annual Conference as an Ordained Elder. Needless to say that was a VERY Special Annual Conference.
There are many pieces of Annual Conference that bring warmth to my soul. Services of Remembrance as well as Retirement speeches bring a swing of reflective emotion. Reconnecting with colleagues in the clergy and laity in churches served along the journey reminds me of our larger community we call United Methodist.
This year’s Annual Conference was extraordinarily special for me. As a District Superintendent I now have a better understanding of the value of the larger church and her important link to God’s work on earth. I now know in a deeper way the ‘power of together’. Working and serving together enables so much more to be accomplished. Thanks be to God that the spirit of the entire week was one of ‘togetherness’, connection, community, joy and blessing. It was a GREAT Conference.
I want you to know how humbled I am to be serving as the District Superintendent of the Atlanta-Marietta District. I truly believe you are the best of the best pastors, staffs, laity and churches. It is my joy to serve our Lord alongside such wonderful people.
So off we go into a new Conference year. I’m excited about the things we will do for God’s glory this year. Together we are a force for Kingdom building. See you soon.