Editor’s Corner: A life connected

Amy Forbus

Amy Forbus

My experience of the 2016 South Central Jurisdictional Conference didn’t turn out at all like I’d anticipated.

Instead of being in there taking notes and photographs, I found myself home in bed, watching the election of new bishops online between hydrocodone-induced naps. A car accident just west of Muldrow, Oklahoma, made it impossible for me to complete the journey to Wichita. (My injuries kept me out of the office for a week, but my colleague the Rev. Martha Taylor faces a longer recovery following ankle surgery. Please keep her in prayer.)

Amid elections and reports, those watching a neighboring jurisdiction braced for controversy that some say brings irreparable damage to our United Methodist connection. But for me, the impact of the Western Jurisdiction’s ballot results had become dramatically less important. Through my injuries, I received a lesson in perspective that emphasized the strength of our connection.

With the dust still settling, a phone call to Todd Burris set a number of actions in motion. Bishop Mueller and our team leader Mark Epperson both called to check on us before we made it to the ambulance.

And when we arrived at the hospital in Fort Smith, the first person I saw was the Rev. Stephen Coburn, waiting for us by the emergency room entrance. He stayed with us, checking on Martha and me for the rest of the day and making sure I got my prescription and something to eat.

I saw the Revs. Bud Reeves, Andrew Kjorlaug and Michael Roberts stop by to offer pastoral care, too. And Michael joined Stephen in going to Oklahoma to retrieve Martha’s and my belongings from the wrecked car.

Dozens of other clergy and laity called or sent messages of prayer and concern via text messaging, Facebook, email, GroupMe, and later, both mailed and hand-delivered cards. I think I responded to them all, but I can’t be sure.

The Revs. Stephen Coburn and Jim Polk divided the duty of driving me back to Little Rock, going above and beyond in their graciousness and care.

There was no way Jim could have guessed that his third week on the job at the Conference office would include writing a cover story for this issue of the Arkansas United Methodist. Well done, Jim. Thanks.

And thanks to the Revs. Paul Strang and Jay Clark, along with Rose Kuonen and Vicki Davis, we have some photos chronicling Arkansas’ presence in Wichita.

Yes, legislation and structure are necessary parts of United Methodism. But neither these actions nor matters related to human sexuality dominate the time we spend in ministry. Caring, praying, showing kindness and being Jesus’ hands and feet require far more attention. Not a thing about the love my fellow United Methodists put into action when I needed help would have changed if the Book of Discipline’s wording were different. That’s something worth remembering as we find our way forward.

To reach me, send an email to aforbus@arumc.org.