Page 49 - 2020 Conference Booklet
P. 49

1    We've been spoiled by being at The Brethren Home for so long. It is time to move on. For who
           2   knows when a next pandemic will come, and we will be forced to vacate our space once again.
           4       This pandemic does have an advantage for a district executive.  I have been able to pop into
           5   various Facebook worship services. Every Sunday I try to find two or three that I can watch to get in
           6   touch with what is going on with our congregations. Our pastors and leaders had been doing above
           7   average job of putting together worship services with their people. They have been careful too to
           8   make sure people can access through various platforms. They have taken seriously a call to love one
           9   another and not rush back into worship services simply because we miss being together physically
          10   with our sisters and brothers. I know there is an advantage to being together - there is something
          11   about corporate worship when it is done right that thrills me to my core, but also, we face realities.
          12   We face reality that our meetings are primarily by Zoom and not in person.  It has been a real switch
          13   to do many of our pastoral search interviews by Zoom and I appreciate those who are willing to do
          14   that. As one of those who grudgingly admits that they are in that the older part of life and being a
          15   diabetic has some risk involved in gathering together indoors I appreciate the technology, even if I
          16   don’t understand it all!  I know our pastors have been working harder than they have ever worked
          17   before. I am praying for them daily, as I hope you are as well.  And maybe not just your pastor but all
          18   the pastors of our district as we work together to serve Christ.
          20      2020 has been tough in our denomination as well. It grieves my heart to see those who want to
          21   leave rather than work to make the Church of the Brethren all she can be. It grieves my heart to see
          22   those who cannot keep their vows. It grieves me to see brothers and sisters separate in any way. My
          23   commitment is first to Christ and secondly to the Church of the Brethren. I want to see her grow. I
          24   want to see your faithful response to the call of God. I acknowledge that we are not perfect. I
          25   acknowledge that there are some among us who sow seeds of discord, who sow seeds of heresy, and
          26   who celebrate sin.  But there are so many good people in the Church of the Brethren. There are so
          27   many strong believers. I know in our district we are strong in our faith, we are strong in our service,
          28   and we are strong in our love. We strive to remain faithful to God's written word, the Bible, and
          29   God's living word, Jesus Christ. We seek to be led by the spirit. We seek to serve the world. We seek
          30   to share the good news of Jesus Christ - not only for Salvation of our souls but for the betterment of
          31   other’s lives. That old brethren saying “For the glory of God and our neighbor’s good” is really at the
          32   core of who we are in the Southern Pennsylvania District Church the Brethren. If not, quite honestly,
          33   I would not be here. I would not serve a district that did not put Christ first.
          35       So, I am thankful for the Southern Pennsylvania District Church of the Brethren and thankful for
          36   each and every one of you as you serve Christ. I am thankful for each one of you as you pray for our
          37   district and support our work with time, talent, and treasure. As we work together, I often say I work
          38   for you and with you and that is not just a trite phrase. I am enriched by your service.  I am enriched
          39   by your love. So again, thank you for your prayers, and thank you for your work for Christ and the
          40   church. Let us strive as we go through this pandemic and beyond to be the church that Christ has
          41   called us to be. Let us work together, acknowledging our weakness, acknowledging our sin,
          42   acknowledging our faults, but also acknowledging that in Christ we can do so much more. In Christ
          43   we are justified. In Christ we find Salvation.  And in Christ we find hope.
          45   Thank you.
          46   Bill

   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54