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A Letter from Rev. N. Susan Brims

by | Feb 26, 2019 | East District News Webpage

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

These words were shared by Bishop Kenneth Carter at the opening worship service for the Called Session of General Conference – They are words from Scripture:

In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.

Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to 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 2. 13-16; 3. 20-21; 4. 1-3

As I write these words we have one last day during General Conference 2019. Today the plenary session resumes its work to receive the report from the legislative committee, which completed its work on Monday.

During the legislative committee the One Church Plan was defeated, and the Traditional Plan was put forward to be presented to the plenary session today. For many it was a decision that carried a pain beyond words. For others it was what they hoped would happen.

The words from Ephesians were shared at the opening worship service for this General Conference. Yesterday, as I watched the proceedings it seemed as if the words to scripture were being torn apart, “in his flesh he made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” Yesterday it felt as if bricks were brought out and a new wall, based on belief about LGBTQ inclusion, started going up, and the one was tearing into two again.

On Monday evening the Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction invited their cabinets and others to a time of prayer with them. The Bishops were pastoral and prophetic in their words. We do not yet know what exactly will happen at the plenary session today. I imagine by the time you get this blog we will fully know the decisions made.

It was obvious that the words Bishop Bob shared with us before the Conference ever began becomes now the direction we follow. Bishop Bob told us; “the day after the general conference someone will go to the church, unlock the door, turn off the alarm, and the work of the church will continue as usual.” There are still hungry people to be fed. There are ill people who need comforting and prayer. There are people who need to know they are beloved because they have never heard that before.

Nothing changes for us, no matter what decision General Conference 2019 finally makes. Like any major vote made at a General Conference, there are many steps between decision and implementation. We will not hold our breath during this time. We will serve God in every way possible, with love, in peace with one another, empowered by God’s grace.

The values of the One Church Plan will still be the values we hold to. These values include:

  1. A clear and strong focus on our mission and ministry. We will continue to do what God has called us to do. “Go into all the world and make disciples.”
  2. A vision of full inclusion for all. That includes all ethnicities, all ages, all people of every gender identity and sexual orientation. “Walls that divide are broken down. “
  3. A commitment to walk in love and unity with one another, even with those whom we may disagree. “Let us love one another, for love is of God.”

Sisters and brothers in Christ, as your District Superintendent, I lift up the words from Ephesians 4:1-3 for all of us once again:

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to 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.

Be at peace, my friends and co-workers! We have work to do.

With hope and peace,

N Susan Brims Signature

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