I know this morning many of our laity and many of our clergy are awaking to the realization that there are moves afoot for churches and clergy. I also realize that many of the "kitchen cabinets" are wondering what in the world the Bishop and her Cabinet were thinking. I am certain that there is joy and there is sadness in the midst of our district.
I want to reassure all who are reading this column that God Almighty, the Lord of life, and the Holy Spirit have been in the midst of our meetings as we prayed and talked and looked to the future of our beloved United Methodist Church in North Georgia. While we have had good laughs at the memes on Facebook about how we do appointments, let me assure you that no darts, cards, balloons, or blindfolds were used. The items used were prayer and thoughtful discernment to focus our churches and pastors for a vital future.
Are there surprises? Yes, even we were surprised by the movement of the Holy Spirit, but, believe me, the Spirit did move and we have been obedient. I am glad that there is sadness. This means there is much love between pastor and congregation. This means effective work has been done. This means deep relationships exist, and the kingdom has begun to be built. I hope there is excitement as a new adventure awaits both clergy and congregation. In Isaiah the prophet records God as saying, "See I am doing a new thing, don't you see it?" This is God's new thing for each one of us. (Lest we forget, I'm moving, too!)
We are United Methodist, and as clergy we took the vow to go where sent by our Bishop. We took the vow to be under the authority of another, willingly. I assure you that Bishop Sue has approached this time with her heart deep in prayer and her soul in tune with the One who called her to this holy office. It is by her authority we are itinerated. Please remind your congregation that we are a called and sent people.
We have been sent this year to places we may never have dreamed of, but these are places where our gifts, talents, graces, and leadership are needed for this day and time. While we understand the need for a compensation that supports our family, we don't move on dollars; we move based on where the Holy Spirit of God needs us to be. This is difficult, but the same Spirit who moves us will provide for us and will make a way where there seems no way. Yes, as I said last week, you and I must trust God more than we trust the world.
I implore you to pray and to seek the comforting and assuring support of God's Holy Spirit in these days. I ask those not moving to pray with fervent hearts for those clergy and congregations who will experience a move. Please wrap your arms around them and love on them in these days. We are a connectional body of Christ; when one hurts, we all hurt, and when one rejoices, we all rejoice.
Oh, beloved, please let us model the kingdom before our people. Let us be the Church.
Excited and scared,