As Bishop Ward completed the Jurisdictional Conference report, she reflected on the ways we have focused on God’s word, prayed together, and moved forward over the past 4 years in the NC Conference.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
I’ve had opportunity, in these last couple of days, to compose a narrative report to the Jurisdictional Conference. A narrative report is required of each of the Bishops assigned in our Jurisdiction and we are asked to reflect on the ministry in which we have been engaged together in our annual conference.
Now reporting for us, all of us, is always a bit of a challenge, and yet is an opportunity that always blesses me as I move through the reporting process. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which we have focused on God’s word, the way we have prayed together, the way we have been led forward. It’s a time to celebrate the good things that have emerged. It’s a time to acknowledge the places and ways that we have yet to grow into all that God has created us to be.
As I wrote the report, I began, on your behalf, reflecting on Psalm 84 with its resonant beautiful language; God’s people go from strength to strength. In these four years, we have focused on growing and thriving and serving and giving as God’s people. We have seen abundant generosity as we went over the top, surpassing our goal, raising to date $1,100,000 for Imagine No Malaria. We have also paid our apportionments to the General Church in full and we have been able to launch endowments, one for mission into perpetuity in the eastern North Carolina region and one for retirement of seminary debt for clergy coming into pastoral ministry.
We have together convened around difficult and contentious issues. We have talked together about racial reconciliation, and acknowledged the brokenness in our world. We have journeyed to places around the world to be in mission, even as we have engaged in our own neighborhoods. We continue to reach out to all children through Congregations for Children with 82% of our congregations engaged with a public school. In these, and many many other ways, we have been engaged in Christ’s mission and felt the Holy Spirit moving in our midst.
When you come to the time of reporting, know that it includes all of us. Each of us, since the days of John Wesley in England and Francis Asbury in America, have received an inheritance of accountability. And in reflecting and remembering and counting and writing, we give witness to all that God is doing among us.
Thanks be to God for God’s amazing abundant grace.