“Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Humility? Gentleness? Patience? This is not easy in our world filled with division and injustice. It is not easy when we are convinced we are right and need to challenge those who have a different perception. It is difficult to have humility, gentleness and patience! But perhaps in the midst of the challenge, the key is to focus on “bearing one another in love.”
The Illinois Conference is in the midst of conversations about how best to be a “conference together.” The Sustainability Committee has been listening to individuals and groups about what people hope from our life together as a conference, remembering that there is no “them” without a “we”.
The Conference is also in a leadership transition. On Oct. 29, Rev. Justo Gonzales will begin as Interim Conference Minister, providing insights and guidance through the transitional time.
Transition can be confusing, but it is also a wonderful opportunity! It is a time to re-consider using the words of St. Paul, “your calling to which you have been called” — a calling as an individual Christian, as a church, as a conference. What does it mean to work together?
The Apostle Paul knew of divisions, of differing opinions, but he also knew that it is a focus on the Spirit that can unite and make a difference. The Illinois Conference has within it pastors, lay leaders, and local churches that are amazing and filled with a spirit that can lead and encourage all of us to move forward, calling upon the Spirit of God.
My time with you as the “Acting Conference Minister” is coming to a close. It has been an honor to be among you during this short time and to work with a very dedicated staff. You will be in my prayers, and I will be excited to see how God keeps moving within the Illinois Conference, leading to newness while calling for faithfulness to your calling.
Acting Conference Minister