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  • Writer's pictureConnor Prusha

'Twas the Night Before General Conference

Years of preparation, study, delay after delay, COVID, [insert anything you want] have led to this moment. Tomorrow, The 2020 Postponed General Conference of The United Methodist Church will kick off in Charlotte, NC. Many delegates from outside the U.S. have already arrived and received briefing, and many from the U.S. have arrived for pre-conference meetings and responsibilities.

I could never have imagined that in 2019, I would be leaving my wife and dog to attend this time of holy conferencing and decision making five years later. I never could have imagined that I'd be employed at a general agency, doing work to which I knew I was always called. I never imagined that I would have the privilege of standing up for those who have been cast out, put down, and marginalized by an institution that was supposed to love and protect them. I could never have imagined. And yet...

We are called for such a time as this. The General Conference has been put off several times now, but issues of justice, inclusion, and mercy have always been present. We know not what the circumstances may bring or what the process might yield for us. Delegates will consider proposals to approve revised Social Principles, presenting statements of faith and belief to a world that are relevant and Gospel-centered. They'll also consider worldwide regionalization, placing all regions of the church on equal footing when it comes to creating necessary adaptations to the Book of Discipline or the sake of missional vitality. Finally, delegates will once again have the opportunity to make a bold statement of love and compassion by removing discriminatory language that has for so long pushed our LGBTQIA+ siblings to the side and denied their belovedness.

We know the full reality of the situation, but we DO KNOW this for certain - God can be trusted! Getting ready to board this afternoon, I have the Prayer of St. Benedict on my mind: O gracious, holy God, give us wisdom to perceive thee, intelligence to understand thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait on thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

As I head to Charlotte to meet with thousands of United Methodists from around the world to do this good and sacred work, I ask that you might join me in that prayer. May we all have wisdom, diligence, and patience to wait on and seek God, even in the middle of the storm. May we meditate of the way Christ is existing in our midst, in our holy conferencing, and in our communities, beckoning us into loving relationship and calling us beloved. May the Spirit inspire us, move us, mold us, and use us to fulfill God's mission through The United Methodist Church. The wait has been long, but now is the time to engage in the good work to which we've been called, and continue to live out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

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