Ripples becoming waves becoming ripples was a part of the message and experience of our 2018 Desert Southwest Annual Conference. Throughout the conference, we considered the many ways in which our individual actions make an impact far beyond ourselves. As we collectively participate in the movement, the ripple carries an increasingly greater impact.
Here are some ways I witnessed the ripple-wave experience at our Annual Conference.
- As Zion UMC received the Courageous Church Award, the entire delegation rose to its feet in a wave of extended applause as Pastor Linda Stanley and Ms. Ruby Pilot came to the stage. The conference members were invited to share a single word of inspiration received from Zion in their year of courageous living. A wave of words quickly came in through the Conference App –more than 150 responses. A ripple becoming a wave of encouragement.
- Ordination and Commissioning service. Paul Ho, Misty Howick, Carl Peterson, Tomote Piukalar, and Khalif Smith (of Trinity UMC) were ordained as elder members. Asa Holly and Brook Isingoma (of Page Community UMC) were commissioned as provisional members. The entire service was inspirational and sent out the ripple wave in a powerful way through the acts of ordination and commissioning in which these courageous individuals entered into the covenant of sacrificial servanthood to the Body of Christ. They are each mightily gifted and dedicated and in this, our church has great hope.
- In Morning Watch led by Phyllis Murray (of Desert Spring UMC and District Lay Leader), we each created a threaded bead chain representing our personal faith journey. It was a meaningful time as I considered life moments that have had a great impact in shaping my faith as each is surrendered into God’s life-giving hand. Threaded together, these seemingly independent moments ripple and connect through life-giving purpose, and direction, and hope.
- Three young adults, including our own North District candidate for ministry, Dior DeSormeau (of Green Valley UMC), gave a trio of inspirational messages. They were powerfully presented and filled with encouragement as we were reminded of how we are united in hope as we witness the movement of the Spirit of God in and through each one of us and through our church.
- Pastors Dottie Escobedo Frank and Javier Olivares presented the resolution to respectfully call upon the US Department of Justice, the US Attorney General, and Secretary of Department of Homeland Security to immediately discontinue separating migrant children from their families. Pastor Dave Devereaux (of Desert Spring UMC) sought the microphone to make a powerful statement of a remembrance of his grandfather. About 85 years ago he and fellow clergy acted to remove the KKK from the church. They spoke out against the horrendous ways of dehumanization through racism and slavery. They called upon the church to engage in courageous action followed by a time of repentance for unethical acts such as slavery and the practice of separating children from parents as a way to control adults. We repented, which means we vow to never again repeat. We do not all agree politically, but we do agree upon the basic human rights of children. The resolution passed with a near-unanimous vote. A ripple to become a wave.
- Bishop Bob addressed the conference about our Future as a UMC as we anticipate the February 2019 Special General Conference, which will act on the Council of Bishops’ recommendation on our way forward. Our Bishop reminded us that no matter the outcome, following the Special GC our pastors will continue to faithfully preach the Word; our lay leadership will continue to engage in vital and effective ministries; our congregations will continue to reach out to our neighbors with acts of justice, mercy, and welcome. A ripple of calm, assurance, strength, and courage was experienced in the Body.
When Pastor Rob Lee and Laurie Sullivan returned home from Conference to Bullhead City, they led Hope UMC in a wave as they begin to impact their church and community with the ripple effects of the experiences and actions of our 2018 Desert Southwest Annual Conference. Send in your clips of the wave happening in your community (send to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Yours in the Ministry of Jesus Christ,
Rev. Daniel R. Morley,
North District Superintendent
The Vision of The Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church:
God has called us to be a Courageous Church:
Loving like Jesus – Acting for Justice – United in Hope