September 15, 2017
More than one person has observed that adversity brings out the best in us and frequently produces a sense of community that was unanticipated. Plenty has occurred in recent weeks to put this observation to the test. The Wesleyan Covenant Association continues to intercede for our neighbors experiencing natural disasters and for our church, The United Methodist Church, as we navigate troubled waters.
As people of faith, we are confident that our prayers make a difference. Prayer brings our will into alignment with God’s purposes. Prayer opens our eyes that we might see that which might otherwise be overlooked. Prayer summons resources we did not know existed. Prayer initiates the transformation of circumstances that seemed hopeless. Prayer is not our last option. Prayer is our preeminent priority. So our prayers must abound. Whatever else is going on in our lives, we will not forget the needs of those who have encountered adversity in recent weeks.
Within the last month, our thoughts in the United States turned first to interceding for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and its devastation. While continuing to respond to that disaster, Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean and through Florida, Georgia and neighboring states. Our churches have responded with incredible generosity, sending financial contributions to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (“UMCOR”) and other disaster relief agencies, assembling flood buckets and sending Early Response Teams into stricken communities. Long after others have moved on to fresh crises, Christ-followers will continue to make a difference in communities that will take years to return to a new normal. No one could respond to the enormous needs presented alone, but working together a difference is being made.
Our vision is limited so we must be reminded of countless other natural disasters that are being experienced in parts of the world that are not featured in our daily news. From an earthquake in Mexico, to flooding in Pakistan, to flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, the impact of these disasters is not lessened simply because they are miles from where we live.
Even as we are mindful of the significant needs around us, our prayers are also with the members of the Commission on a Way Forward who are meeting for the fifth time in Berlin, Germany from September 18 to 20. The Commission’s deliberations have not been open to the public and little of significance has been disclosed about any proposals which will emerge from the Commission, but the Commission is at a critical juncture in their deliberations. The Commission will deliver a preliminary report to the Council of Bishops when they meet in November, with a final report to be made by the spring meeting of the Council of Bishops. With the Commission not scheduled to meet again before issuing its preliminary report, one can surmise that crucial discussions will occur in Berlin.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association is praying for each member of the Commission and their collective work – that the Holy Spirit will direct their actions, that the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ will be affirmed, and that their decisions will create a way forward that honors the deeply held beliefs and conscience of all the people of the church, allowing us to bless one another and go forward in peace and good will. We are confident that God is at work in this even as God has been at work in the difficulties we have faced because of recent natural disasters.
Join us in praying for each Commission member during this crucial meeting:
Jorge Acevedo, Brian Adkins, Jacques Umembudi Akasa
Tom Berlin, Matt Berryman, Helen Cunanan
David Field, Ciraco Francisco, Grant Hagiya
Aka Dago-Akribi Hortense, Scott Johnson, Jessica LaGrone
Thomas Lambrecht, MyungRae Kim Lee, Julie Hager Love
Mazvita Machinga, Patricia Miller, Mande Guy Muyombo
Eben Nhiwatiwa, Dave Nuckols, Casey Langer Orr
Gregory Palmer, Donna Pritchard, Tom Salsgiver
Robert Schnase, Jasmine Rose Smothers, Leah Taylor
Debra Wallace-Padgett, Rosemarie Wenner, Alice Williams
John Wesley Yohanna, Alfiado S. Zunguza
Pray also for the three moderators of the Commission: Bishops David Yemba, Ken Carter and Sandra Steiner Ball.
In the midst of all of this, the Wesleyan Covenant Association is confident in the future because we know who holds the future securely in His grasp – the Lord Jesus Christ. We urge you to take time in this season to join us in fervent prayer to the One who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20).