Many reasons for hope and optimism as we enter a New Year


A positive and optimistic attitude makes sense for those of us in The United Methodist Church because we have, among many other blessings:

-a great base of millions of spiritually strong and committed lay members who are seeking to love God as disciples of Jesus Christ, and who are well educated, financially able, socially engaged and unusually influential in the world;

-thousands of gifted and trained clergy, who are preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the holy sacraments, serving the church and world, and ordering the life of our beloved church;

-a remarkable connection of thousands of local churches, missions and ministries located literally all over the world answering God's call to love our neighbors in word, deed and sign;

-many excellent camps, schools, colleges, universities and seminaries ministering to the hearts and minds of children, youth, young adults and lifetime learners;

-a scriptural, orthodox, carefully developed, experientially confirmed, Wesleyan Christian theological grounding;

-a dynamic evangelistic witness that intentionally invites others into the family of faith;

-loving and accepting relationships of mutual respect with diverse peoples across barriers such as gender, age, education, race, ethnicity, culture, politics, nationality, language, tradition and beliefs;

a balanced emphasis on personal and social holiness; and, most significantly;

-faith and trust in Almighty God's eternal, graceful, miraculous, and redemptive power, which is shown most clearly through Jesus Christ and which is constantly present with us through the Holy Spirit.

Surely you can add to this list of blessings we share as United Methodists because I've just scratched the surface. Let's claim all these realities, celebrate, and live as faithful stewards of God's grace to us with bold joy, confidence and hope!

Dear God, let it be!

Mike Watson
Resident Bishop
North Georgia Episcopal Area
The United Methodist Church