We had the wonderful privilege this past Sunday, after celebrating All Saints Sunday in all three morning services, of hosting the Council of Bishops memorial service and dinner before they began their week of meetings at the Lake. I was very, very proud of our congregation! The service went well, with staff, ushers and greeters, and communion stewards helping things go smoothly, and our choir singing three magnificent anthems. Four bishops and bishops’ spouses were remembered at the memorial service, including Bishop Monk Bryan, whose friend Bishop William Boyd Grove gave wonderful tribute to him. Bishop Bryan had planned to be here this week. He reminded me in an email that he worshiped in this congregation for 22 years, and this church was very special to him. He was special to all of us who knew him!
After the service, there was a wonderful dinner in our Christian Growth Center with excellent service by a number of our members. Thanks to all who helped make this a special day for the bishops and our church. Many of the bishops expressed their gratitude to me for the hospitality.
Not every church gets this kind of opportunity! And not just because they are bishops! We had persons worshiping and dining here from four continents!
This Sunday we have another unique opportunity. Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda of the North Katanga Conference in the Congo will preach at our 11:00 service. (Wilson Strickhausen will preach at the two early services.) Bishop Ntambo has been described to me as a cross between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Franklin D. Roosevelt. By all counts he is an amazing person and servant of Christ, and we will be blessed to hear him. (Bishop Ntambo will also preach at the Peace Conference at the Lake beginning November 13.)
Not every church gets these kinds of opportunities! We have a unique position in our proximity to Lake Junaluska, and I hope you all are grateful for these connections to United Methodism in the larger world. I just received a mailing about another such opportunity ahead, but I’ll save that news for a later time.
See You Sunday at the Opportunities Place,
P.S. If you have not returned your Estimate of Giving card for 2012, please do so as soon as possible, so that our church leadership can plan for funding of ministries for next year. You can mail your card, place it in the offering this Sunday, or call or email Rebecca Wiley (456-9475, firstname.lastname@example.org).