With a clergy processional, the 2016 North Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church began with the All Saints Celebration and Memorial Service. Candles covered the altar and set an atmosphere of holiness and reverence.
“As you are seated, look to your left and to your right and there you see the saints of God,” said Bishop Hope Morgan Ward as she greeted the congregation. “As we gather at this table, we celebrate the holy feast, giving thanks for the feast in heaven.”
The names of the saints were read in a solemn tone and a bell was tolled as congregants stood to remember their loved ones. The Reverend Leonard Fairley, Capital District Superintendent, offered the sermon message reminding all of the importance of the example set by the saints who have passed on.
With the parable of the feeding of the multitudes in John 6: 1-13, Fairley emphasized the generosity of a boy who used all that he had to meet the needs of others. He asked, “What would happen if as generous saints, we trusted what we have into the hands of Jesus Christ?”