Grace and peace to you in the name of the risen Christ!
“Dancing with the Spirit: Conference as a Means of Grace.” Are you ready to dance? Are you ready to have your heart strangely warmed? Our 216th session of annual conference is days away! We’ll begin worship with gathering music at 1 p.m. on June 10. My anticipation is high as we near the time for this family reunion! Many people are making preparation for powerful worship, praying and celebrating together, ordaining and commissioning new leaders, discerning God’s yearning for the New York Annual Conference and anticipating the future into which God is leading us.
We will receive four offerings during our time together. At our opening worship on Wednesday we will remember Bishop Martin D. McLee with the collection of contributions to the McLee Young Clergy Debt Assistance Fund. Many of you have already contributed to this and we thank you. I encourage you to give generously to this important means of relieving at least in part the burden of educational debt which many of our young pastors carry.
On Thursday we will again hear a testimony from a Black College representative. Those who have been present for this moment before recall what an inspiration it is to hear how our support is enabling educational opportunities. We will receive an offering for the Black College Fund which will help us fulfill our long-term commitment to not only fully pay our general church apportionment, but go beyond it.
Representatives from Anchor House will speak to us on Friday giving testimony to the transformative power of Jesus Christ in the lives of hundreds of men and women through the years. We will receive an offering for Anchor House.
On Friday evening we will celebrate our conference-wide commitment to the Imagine No Malaria campaign and on Saturday will receive an offering during the ordination service. This offering will help us reach our $1.2 million goal to help eradicate malaria deaths of children, women and men. Every dollar given or pledged will help save a life. Many of you have already given. Can we do more? What a difference our generosity makes!
If you are unable to attend annual conference but want to support any of these offerings, please make your check payable to NYAC, on the memo line indicate which offering you are giving to and send your offering to my attention at 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, N.Y. 10606.
Come with ready hearts to experience the renewal possible when United Methodists join together to rejoice in our oneness in Christ. I know this will be a grace-filled time as we dance with the Spirit!
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Jane Allen Middleton