Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
It has been quite a journey the last 10 years as I have had the privilege of walking with you in ministry. During this time, I have seen the Holy Spirit do amazing things in and through you. I also have experienced deep pain brought about by division in our midst. In it all, however, we have been living every moment in the abundance of God’s grace that is always at work making God’s will just as real on earth as it already is in heaven.
I am grateful for you and your faithfulness in carrying out Jesus’ mission for the church. I am hopeful about a vibrant future for the ‘Heart of United Methodism’ in Arkansas. And I will continue to watch with joy as you make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped and sent to transform lives, communities and the world.
You are blessed to have Bishop Merrill lead the Arkansas Conference in the coming years, and it is a joy to be able to pass the mantle of leadership to her. She is a gifted and faithful leader who will enable you to catch a glimpse of the exciting future the Holy Spirit is leading you towards. I know you will welcome her, pray for her and support her as she leads with compassion and boldness.
In closing, I want to share again that I believe one of the most important tasks facing you right now is living out Jesus’ imperative for unity. Take risks to reach out to those with whom you differ because the world needs to see how the Good News of the Gospel is powerful enough to bring people together who otherwise would remain divided. This gift, perhaps more than any other, will be cool water for a parched world.
God bless you!
Grace and peace,
Gary E. Mueller