My wife Susan and I returned from two weeks of vacation on Wednesday. We had a wonderful time, visiting Washington, DC, Williamsburg, Ocracoke, and some time with both of our grown children and families. Yes, we had some fantastic grandparent time!
You were in good hands the last two weeks with Wilson and Becky preaching. I hear they both delivered sermons that were meaningful and moving. Thanks to them for stepping up while I was away. I also want to thank Becky for giving you a very fine synopsis of the proceedings of General Conference last week. I had tried to prepare you with a long pastoral letter before I left, and she accurately reported the actions of General Conference. In case you missed it, the controversial issues of human sexuality were tabled. The bishops of our church will organize a committee to study the options for moving forward. To me, this was a good outcome. We are looking to the bishops for leadership (we don’t always do this!), and we are searching for sensible ways to live together in spite of differences. I hope we will all be praying for this process.
In other denominational news, the Western NC Annual Conference will soon be in session, June 15-19 at the Lake. And in July, the Southeastern Jurisdiction will have its quadrennial meeting at the Lake, when 5 new bishops will be elected for the 5 who are retiring in the Southeast. We will also learn in July who our new bishop will be in September. More to come on both of these.
I took vacation before summer because things are going to be so busy from now on! Tomorrow is our annual Community Impact Day. Nearly 200 have signed up to serve in one of the 10 sites throughout the community. We’ll gather for breakfast, prepared by the United Methodist Men, at 8:00, then we’ll head out. I’ll attempt to get around to all the sites as a cheerleader. This is annually a significant day for us to say to our community, “We care. We are willing to roll up our sleeves and support you in your work.”
Which touches a bit on this Sunday’s sermon. The story we’ll hear from Luke 7:11-17 is of Jesus encountering the widow at Nain whose only son had died. He saw her, he knew her plight was a difficult one. Luke tells us he had “compassion.” We’ll think on Sunday about what compassion means and how we live it out as followers of Christ.
Also on Sunday morning we’ll recognize our high school graduatesand those receiving scholarships from the church. It’s an important milestone for them and their families, and we want to share it with them.
Then on Sunday evening we will celebrate our annual Pig Pickin’ with great bluegrass, BBQ, and fellowship. We have invited the Central Elementary family as our special guests this year. We want to thank them and offer them our best wishes and support as Central closes and they all move on.
I returned to find the summer interns hard at work and planning and working to make this a great summer. I’ll say it now and often: we don’t close down for the summer! When you are on vacation, have a wonderful time! When you are in town, be in church. Worship on Sunday, participate in other activities, let the church be central in your life!
See you Sunday!