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By Rev. Matt Ashley, South District Superintendent

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” ~Galatians 6:10~

On Monday, March 1, the Arizona Wildcat men’s basketball program played its last game of the season. No March Madness this year as the UofA serves a self-imposed penalty for alleged NCAA violations, a real letdown for a proud fanbase that’s used to watching its team contend for championships at this time of year.

And yet there is always goodness. Coach Adia Barnes has led the U of A women’s basketball team to a Top Ten ranking and a likely high seed in the postseason, and star point guard  Aari McDonald has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. These Wildcats play with passion and joy and great teamwork, and Arizona fans can watch their team travel down the road that leads to the Final Four after all.

After that comes my least favorite time of year – the five long months between the end of college basketball and the beginning of college football. More waiting for Wildcat and Cornhusker fans like me. (I wish college football would start in July and college basketball would last into May, so I’d just have six weeks off for vacation travel. My wife is a big Wildcat fan too but thinks this is a crazy plan.)

Last week the United Methodist Council of Bishops released a newly revised schedule of connectional gatherings for our denomination. The postponed 2020 General Conference has been postponed a second time and will now meet in the fall of 2022. In the meantime, a special session of General Conference will gather online in May of this year to conduct essential business only, with delegates casting their votes on paper ballots that will be submitted by mail.

Why all the delays?  Ensuring that delegates from all parts of the globe could gather safely in Minneapolis this fall proved too difficult and too uncertain in the midst of the pandemic. And doing the full conference online also presented many challenges with time differences and internet access and other things. Because delegates in all parts of the globe deserve to be heard and deserve a vote, the Church is waiting until it is safe and feasible to come together again.

We are in a season of waiting.  Waiting for General Conference.  Waiting for the pandemic to fade.  Waiting for vaccines to become available.  Waiting to gather in praise and worship and fellowship.  Waiting for a denomination that is struggling to discern a way forward together.

We are in a season of waiting. Maybe God is teaching us patience as we learn to be thankful for what is rather than lamenting what is not. There is goodness to be experienced, and there is good to do. Our churches are gathering in new and different ways, and servant leaders across our district and the Desert Southwest Conference continue to share the light and love of Jesus Christ with the world.

Let us wait upon the Lord, the One who renews our strength. There is much good to do, so let us keep working for the good of all.

Thanks for listening –
Matt

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