Words from Our Conference Lay Leader – Great Works Happening
At the start of the quarantine earlier this spring, our churches had to rethink how we did church. It was unheard of to NOT be together when we were doing the work of the church. But here we are, months later, with many successful new programs and activities throughout the Conference. Many thanks to the District Lay Leaders that shared the following outreach/activities that began because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the requirement for the church to leave the building:
- A group made quilts for a battered child center and for a local mission.
- Prayer shawls were made for the local cancer center and nursing homes.
- Hats were made and distributed to the homeless.
- More folks volunteered at their local food banks.
- Many found ways to reach out and assist local school children with studies/homework.
- Some made cookies and distributed them to essential workers in their towns.
- On-line Bible studies began.
- Most churches found a way to produce a sermon on-line.
- Many churches had groups and individuals that started sewing face masks for their friends and family, for essential workers, for the Navajo Nation, and made masks available to all members of their communities.
- Members did spring cleaning and donated many items to non-profits.
- Some volunteered to assist in handing out meals with local meal providers.
- The more tech-savvy people assisted other churches in finding ways to reach others through ZOOM and other on-line opportunities.
- There were drive by birthday celebrations, graduations, and visits to members in care centers.
- Some assisted in Virtual Day Camp with UMC Camping and Retreat Ministries,
The most consistent and powerful activity that occurred was a coordinated and consistent effort of communication by pastors and laity through traditional means like phone calls, sending hard copies of newsletters previously only available online, prayer requests, praying on-line, dropping off supplies to members that weren’t able to grocery shop and who needed critical supplies, sending-cards to make sure church members and friends knew they were loved and cared for by their church family.
Praise God for the many hands and hearts that keep the body connected and surrounded in love.
Conference Lay Leader
AN IMPORTANT REQUEST FROM OUR disAbilities MINISTRIES TEAM. Let’s remember these words that come from our Conference disAbilities Ministries Team. The live streaming of worship has been a blessing to people who have disAbilities and have not been able to physically attend church worship services. Laura Land’s shared this important plea: “People with disAbilities don’t want to be locked out again.”
DSC GENEROSTIY SHINES! The generosity of our people is evident as we report that $70,000 has been contributed to ministry to respond to the urgent need for clean water for the Navajo Nation. This, our Annual Conference Mission Project, demonstrates that when there is a need, United Methodists respond with extraordinary generosity in the name of and with the compassion of Jesus Christ! This is one example of our courage as we love like Jesus, act for justice, and unite our hearts in hope. Additional donations to this project will be received through July 31, 2020.
CONGRATULATIONS TO CHRISTINA DILLABOUGH! Our Director of Communications received her Associate of Arts in Communications degree in May with Distinction with a specialty in Social Media Marketing. She also earned a professional certification in Social Media Marketing. In addition to her ministry as our Director of Communications, she juggles family responsibilities with her husband and three children, and is continuing her studies toward a BA in Digital Film Production which she hopes to complete in May 2021.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE made history! Thank you to the delegates, lay and clergy who participated faithfully in the FIRST (and hopefully the last) virtual Annual Conference, the 36th Session of the Desert Southwest Conference. It took a village to make it happen, and I am grateful for the many persons on the Session Committee who met faithfully and helped to dream and implement what it would look like to meet by ZOOM technology. The actions of the Annual Conference will as usual, be posted in the Conference Journal, which is being produced by our gracious conference staff without whom we could not have succeeded in accomplishing this historic Annual Conference. We hope and pray that next June, we will meet in person!
ACTIONS ON ITEMS REFERRED TO COVENANT COUNCIL. Several pieces of legislation which were submitted for consideration at Annual Conference were referred to the Covenant Council, which met last Thursday, June 25, 2020.
- A resolution and a petition regarding the treatment of asylees were considered together and approved.
- A resolution and a petition regarding the treatment of immigrants were also approved.
- A resolution to publish compensation information of retired clergy appointed to churches in the DSC in the Conference Journal was passed.
- A resolution addressing the DSC Budget was referred as amended to a task force.
- The Budget for 2021 was adopted as amended.
- And a resolution to add the observance of Juneteenth as an official Conference holiday was passed.
There is so much happening in our world that is discouraging and alarming. We are saddened at the continuing spread of the Coronavirus in Nevada and Arizona, in the US, and the world. We mourn the loss of life and the erosion of trust in our society due to racism and violence. And yet, there are moments of joy and celebration, sparkles of light that tell of the kindness and love that is very much a part of who we are as Christ followers. Let us be a light in the darkness to guide others to Jesus! Keep well and stay safe!
In Christ’s love,