Tuesday, May 17, 2016

GC #4 It's not the Apocalypse

I woke up this morning thinking about the candidates for ministry that I mentor. They are a diverse group, comprised of pretty much all the seminary students in the Great Plains not enrolled at St Paul. We meet via facebook group and individual phone calls, skype and emails and I know them much better than you might think given the distance and time zones involved. I care about them, pray for them and worry about them. Below you will find what I wrote to them this morning. I want to think it applies to all members and pastors of the United Methodist Church church as well. 

Friends - this could be a rough day at General Conference. I can't protect you from alarming news and the accompanying social media posts.
Word came as I was preparing to sleep of a plan for schism that may or may not have been proposed by our Bishops.
As with all news from GC, I advise to proceed with caution for these and other reasons:
1) the hearer of the news is likely tired and comes to the news with more stress than they usually might
2) the communicator of the news is likely tired and comes to the news with more stress than they usually might
3) anything that happens in the next three days can be overturned, amended, reversed, reconsidered and/or thrown out on Friday. or any of the other days between now and the time we leave.
Finally - please know that no matter how much we appear to be fighting, God cherishes all candidates for ministry - including the ones we have told to wait, the ones who are LGBTQI, the ones who are no longer young adults, and the ones who have taken "nontraditional paths" - and I think our denomination does as well, we just don't have all the words quite yet.
Thank you for allowing me into your lives, I appreciate your trust.
If you have room for those of us in Portland in your prayers, please include us. It could be a difficult day.
Closing with this: I believe in the God who created and is creating, who makes all things new.
Love to you. SA

Here's a photo, because I feel like blogs should not just have words. 
 Sky was my parents' "young associate pastor" when they lived in Martin TN. I was a student at Vanderbilt the first three years they lived there, and Sky invited me to preach at their church. !!!! It was my first sermon EVER at a church. He wasn't my "real" mentor, but he is one of many informal and very real mentors I've appreciated on my faith journey. Now he is a District Superintendent, and a candidate for Bishop in the Southeast Jurisdiction.

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