Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Welcome to the 2018 North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. It is a gift to me to be on a journey together with you. I am anticipating a meaningful time together at this 152nd session of the Annual Conference as we worship, listen and learn from one another.
Our conference theme this year is “Moving Toward Perfection in Love” and our focus will be on spiritual disciplines. I chose this theme and focus because the foundation of our lives individually and as a community must be grounded in prayer and disciplined spiritual practices. The Holy Spirit moves through us when we listen.
In this session we will worship together and pray together. We will be inspired to deepen our prayer life in daily sessions on spiritual disciplines led by leaders from here in our conference. Extensive planning has gone into our four worship services. Those services will again be led by excellent practitioners from here in North Georgia.
We will collect a special offering to benefit our conference’s Ministerial Education Fund. Each of us benefits from the education of our clergy and together we can ease the burden of the expense of that education. Join the effort by giving generously to our special offering.
Please join me in praying daily for our time together. Pray for one another. We will be further along on our journey together if each of us arrives “prayed up”! I encourage you to read a book that will prepare us for our time together: Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life by Marjorie J. Thompson. You are also invited to join our clergy in reading: Anatomy of Peace from the Arbinger Institute and Crucial Conversations by Ron McMillan, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, and Al Switzler.
In closing, I’d like to share with you a verse from scripture that I have been focused on this season. "As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” —Colossians 3:12-15 (NRSV)
Grace and peace to you,
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson