Memorial Day 2022

I am more profoundly grateful with each passing year of my life for those who gave their lives defending our nation. Each one made the ultimate sacrifice so that others could live. Each one of them had a life filled with endless plans and possibilities that ended far too soon. Each one was cut down in the prime of life. Each one left behind family and friends with broken hearts and unending grief. May we always remember them.. May we always give thanks to God for their service. And may we live in ways that honor their memories.

A Sunday Prayer

Lord God,

We pray for the children today.

Those slaughtered in Uvalde and those who will live with its horror the rest of their lives. Those who live far away from Uvalde and wonder if they will be safe sitting in their classrooms. Those whose lives are shaped by a culture of violence, with damage that will unfold in tragic ways still unforeseen.

We pray for the children today.

Those in our communities and those in communities around the world who go to bed hungry every night. Those who have virtually no chance to break the cycle of poverty simply because they can’t read on level by the third grade. Those who live in homes where physical and mental abuse run rampant, all too often dooming them to repeat the same cycle.

We pray for the children today.

Those we hold every night and those we hold in our hearts. Those we know well and those we will never know. Those whose lives we can impact, those whose lives we can only watch and those we will never know are alive..

May we be Christ for all of these children.

Amen.

God’s Going to Show Up

Last evening I was in the middle of alternating back and forth between finishing my Episcopal Address for Annual Conference and doing my laundry. Yes, it’s what bishops do. As I walked by the windows running along the back of the house, I looked out and saw the most beautiful sunset. It took my breath away and caused me to stop in my tracks, and I just watched. And I suspect anyone watching would have seen a smile spread across my face. It was like God was saying, “Gary, I appear in the most amazing ways at just the right time.” It’s true. God does. So be on the lookout because God’s going to show up for you sometime today.

UMC Bishops agree to call regular sessions of jurisdictional conferences in 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to Judicial Council decision 1445, the Council of Bishops (COB) has formally set the dates for regular sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be convened November 2-5, 2022.

During a special COB meeting held today, the bishops approved a motion that the jurisdictional conferences will meet for purpose of the election and assignment of new bishops for the limited purpose of effectuating the continuance of the episcopacy in The United Methodist Church.

Each jurisdiction will determine how many bishops will be elected in their areas.

The President of the Council, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton said, “I was very pleased that the council engaged in a very thorough and thoughtful discussion. We weighed and balanced all of the pros and cons involved in making this decision. While there is no scenario that is without obstacles, we celebrate the ability we have been given to conduct Jurisdictional Conferences and elect bishops to serve the church in its next expression.”

In another development, the bishops voted to ask the Judicial Council for clarification on the following issues:
– Does Decision 1445 mean that only those bishops elected to fill vacancies existing as of the jurisdictional conferences in November 2022 may be assigned to fill those vacancies or may active bishops already serving in the jurisdiction be reassigned to fill the vacancies and newly elected bishops be assigned to fill vacancies created when active bishops are reassigned?

– If a bishop who must retire “on August 31 next following the regular session of the jurisdictional conference” elects to remain in the bishop’s assignment from the adjournment of the jurisdictional conference in November 2022 until August 31 of 2023, how can a newly elected bishop be assigned on an interim basis to the episcopal area served by the retiring bishop before August 31, 2023?

The Council of Bishops encourages the entire church to continue in deep, unceasing prayer for the Church and the world in this difficult time in the life of the church.

Hope Is Always Present

There are days life just slams you and you struggle to deal with it. But then you hear about a tragedy so horrific that you cannot imagine the pain, despair, grief and hopelessness in that situation. So you say, “My problems are nothing in comparison.” And you stuff it deep down in your soul. While what happens to others may put your life in perspective, it does not negate your pain, hurt or disappointment. God is with those who are trying to pick up the pieces after a horrible tragedy. God is also with you as you try to deal with what’s going on in your life. Indeed, God is with everyone who struggles, grieves, hurts or is abused. That’s because God’s love is so large that there’s more than enough to go around. And that means healing is real. New life is real. And hope is always present.