Bishop Ward and Gray Southern talk about his new roles as Assistant to the Bishop and Conference Secretary.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus.
We welcome Gray Southern to a new role configured for this particular time in the life of our Annual Conference and our wider Church. Welcome, Gray.
Thank you, Bishop. When we talk about being Assistant to the Bishop, you made me think of that famous verse that we all so enjoy from Philippians, “I thank my God for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” And you know you can translate the word “partnership” into assistance or help. Well it’s an honor to be a part of that connection of ministry that we so enjoy, the connected United Methodist Church, to be blessed to be in the role of being an assistant for you as we together embrace the whole of our Annual Conference for effective leadership and vital ministry.
It’s also a great gift to know that because of our connection, I’ll be blessed to be in the role to help Bishop Fairley in that same way. I understand those roles will be different because he’ll be dividing his time between multiple annual conferences, but my role to be a helper in the system will stay the same. A great blessing I hope for the whole of the Conference and the whole of our connected life. A piece of that is also going to be doing the work of assisting the Conference in its life as I have the pleasure and honor to be elected Conference Secretary, so I see the two offices in this season of our church’s life in transition as being vitally related to each other as together we order our life to go forward, as we continue to serve Christ Jesus and be a blessing to each other. I want to thank you for the opportunity to fulfill that assisting role and to live into the fullness of what Paul says when he talks about embracing each other and thinking of things of excellence as we grow our ministry forward.
Thank you, Gray, for your willingness to venture into this new way of configuring our life again for this time.
Thanks be to God.