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Reflections and Devotionals on General Conference 2020 in 2024

by | Dec 14, 2023 | Conference Newsletter, General Conference News, Spiritual Formation

Bishop Sally Dyck

By Rev. Dan Hurlbert, First Elect Clergy Delegate and pastor at Prescott UMC

Some of my most cherished traits reside in the minds of others.

One of the most memorable events for me at General Conference 2016 happened early on, just after the start of the legislative business. Bishop Sally Dyck had preached an amazing sermon on Matthew 9:13: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Her sermon was augmented by her use of American Sign Language. Each time she said, “Go learn mercy,” to add to the experience, she was wearing a stole created by Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk, a member of DSC (Desert Southwest Conference). It was one of the most Spirit-filled worship services I have ever experienced.

The Gospel proclamation uplifted the entire body as we adjured to our committees to begin legislative work. In the section I attended, within the first ten minutes, a well-known clergy member went to the microphone to speak against a legislative proposal. In a nod to the sermon we had just heard, he started with these words: “I am merciful, but. . .” He then revealed what I believe to be the limits of his mercy. Traits, such as mercy, reside in the minds of those on the receiving end.

I can tell people I am kind and merciful all day long, but those who experience my behavior will decide whether it is true or not. What is more, you may have experienced me as kind and merciful, but someone else might have had a different experience. There are moments where mercy for one is not mercy for all and moments where misunderstanding leads to action that I thought to be merciful is not received as such.

As I prepare for General Conference 2024 in Charlotte, NC, my desire is to take action that is loving and merciful. I ask for you to pray for our church and our delegation that we can do just that. Pray that we trust in God, whose mercy knows no end.

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Editor’s Note:

The Desert Southwest Conference Spiritual Formation Committee will be publishing reflections and devotionals in Conference communications as we near General Conference 2020 on April 23-May 3, 2024. Churches are welcome to copy and paste the reflections and devotionals in church news. Visit https://dscumc.org/general-conference to find information and resources for local church use about General Conference 2020 in 2024.

Save the Date:

The Desert Southwest Conference Spiritual Formation Committee is hosting a writing retreat featuring Larry Peacock as the main speaker on Saturday, April 6, 2024, from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. The retreat will be available via Zoom and in person at St. Francis in the Foothills UMC, Tucson.

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Author: Rev. Dan Hurlbert

Rev. Dan Hurlbert is the Clergy First Elect Delegate for the Desert Southwest Conference and senior pastor at Prescott UMC.

The Desert Southwest Conference is a diverse and loving organization with open doors to a variety of people and partners in ministry. Celebrating our connection and diversity, we offer various resources. Content on this site includes information from other organizations that may not reflect the official policies or Social Principles of The United Methodist Church or the Desert Southwest Conference.

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