Praying The Way Forward

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"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another." - Romans 12:4-5
"There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28
"Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus . . . May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; the One who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18, 23-24

A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church takes place this Saturday, February 23rd--next Tuesday, February 26th. The purpose will be to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based on the recommendations of the Council of Bishops. The Commission was authorized to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options to strengthen church unity.

With this said, I would ask that you pray with me this week as nearly 900 delegates from around the world gather in St. Louis for this work. Each day this week I will be entering the sanctuary at Richland UMC to pray for our denomination, our conference, our district and our local church. I encourage you to do the same from your home, along a favorite path or trail, or come into the church to pray.

Here are some of the ways you can pray:
- Pray for the lay and clergy delegates who are gathering. Pray for safe journeys, open hearts and a discerning Spirit.
- Pray for the General Conference in St. Louis. Pray that God’s will be done. Pray for a united Spirit. Pray for good conversation and spiritual discernment around issues of human sexuality.
- Pray for the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. Pray for each pastor, and each church to also be in pray for the work of the Church. - Pray also for a Spirit of cooperation and unity, that when decisions are made, our Churches of West Ohio Conference will be working with the new decisions, in a healthy and forward-moving way.
- Pray for our Foothills District. We are in the poorest of the 8 districts that make up the West Ohio Conference. Pray that we continue to work together with God for the people of SE Ohio. Losing churches in our district would mean that the poorest of the poor; the neediest of the needy would be negatively impacted. Pray that we preach, teach, reach out and love, throughout all of this.
- Pray for RUMC. Pray for me as your shepherd, pray for the staff that care for you. Pray for the leadership of the church that make critical decisions for the future of RUMC. Pray for the members of the church and how they might work with their giftedness (we are the body of Christ) to be a blessing to our community and to the Lord.
- Pray for yourself. Pray that you can be a part of moving the ministries of Richland Church forward, no matter what direction General Conference takes. Pray to be open to the Holy Spirit and will and ways of the Lord.

Tomorrow I will be sharing some information on the Way Forward and General Conference. I want everyone to be as informed as possible. Then, after General Conference is complete, we will be planning round table discussions to keep the conversation progressing.

On Saturday, March 2, the District Superintendent has an informational meeting to report on General Conference and the direction our denomination will take. It will be at the Plains UMC at 10am. You are welcome to go with questions or just to sit quietly and learn more.

In His service,

- Pastor Karen

Let us pray together, today, and through the next week, as the work of the United Methodist Church is being done. Lord God, hear our prayers . . . .
Feb 23 2019