Oh how good it is to gather in the name of the Lord for holy conferencing! After an in-person hiatus due to COVID protocols, the North Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church gathered Wednesday in the Greenville Convention Center. The day began with the Laity and Clergy Executive Sessions and then moved into the Opening Worship.
The worship team reminded us of the diversity of our Methodist Connection by leading us with the words from Ephesians 4: 1-6 in Korean, Spanish, and English.
In his first in-person worship service with us as Bishop, Leonard Fairley began his time of teaching with humor and named an early-
morning prayer by conference Communications Director, Derek Leek, as the conduit of the Holy Spirit inspiring him change the title of his sermon to “See How They Love Each Other.”
Bishop Fairley reminded us that love is not merely a suggestion for us. Jesus showed us how to love when he laid down his life for his friends. Fairley said that the best witness we can give is to live into the words of Jesus: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” The bishop paused to emphasize that this was not a suggestion from Jesus — it was a command.
Following the sermon, Bishop Paul Leeland, an NC Conference Elder who served the Western NC Conference prior to his retirement, led the congregation in a baptismal remembrance as we prepared for dining at the Lord’s Table. In addition, the choir shared their gifts, offering the anthem, Many Gifts, One Spirit by Allen Pote.