Bishop Ward is hopeful that God’s love, mercy and grace will be evident in St. Louis as delegates meet at the special called General Conference later this month.
Grace and peace to each of you my sisters and brothers in The United Methodist Church.
My heart is hopeful as later this month, The United Methodist Church convenes a called session of the General Conference in St. Louis. The sole focus of this gathering is our ministry with LGBTQI persons who are in our families, our churches, our communities, and across our wider world.
I am hopeful for this gathering because my spirit has hovered over a biblical word. The word is spacious. It appears first in Exodus and then is picked up in Nehemiah, in Judges, in 2nd Samuel, in Job and in the Psalms. God says, “I am bringing you out to a spacious place.”
We know the beauty and enrichment of living together in spaciousness. When we circle chairs and have deep conversation together, we find that we can speak the truth which we have discovered in God’s Holy Scriptures. We discover that we can listen well to our neighbor and friend who may have found a different view as they have studied and listened to God.
We, in humility, join hands with one another. A favorite Wesleyan mantra is, “If your heart is as my heart, give me your hand.” The heart of The United Methodist witness is love of God and love of neighbor. The heart of United Methodist mission is grace, mercy, and love flowing out into the world. May all of these truths live well in us in St. Louis and across the worldwide connection of United Methodist people in these important weeks.