Pat Byrum was our lay delegate to annual conference this year.
It has been a few years since I have been at the Lakeshore-that is Lake Junaluska -to attend the Western NC Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Many changes have taken place, some great, but parking hasn’t changed at all. There are trolleys running so you can ride to the Stewart Auditorium, and the walk along the Rose Walk is beautiful so it’s not all bad. We experienced great preaching, wonderful music and fellowship with friends-some we knew and some we met while sitting for many hours in the assembly.
The business sessions were handled by the clergy and laity quietly but efficiently. Some years I’ve been weren’t as nice????
There were two offerings taken-Gulfside Association, a Camp Meeting Ground in Waveland, Mississippi that was founded in 1923 for education and spiritual retreats. It was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. The second offering was for Imagine no Malaria which will aid the purchase of mosquito nets and research for treatment of malaria which has been a killer in Africa. By donating our resources we are putting discipleship into action (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
United Methodists in Western North Carolina (that’s you and I) have been divided into 8 new districts. We, Wingate UMC, are now a part of the Uwharrie District with Sam Moore as our District Superintendent.
There was a teaching session with Adam Hamilton called “Leading Beyond the Walls” which Rev. Taylor and I attended (three sessions over two days). There were many statistics given, inspiring examples that other churches are experiencing and some ideas that all churches would do well to implement including our own.
As usual, the delegates come away from the Lake with a head full of ideas and thoughts and even though it is draining physically, emotionally and spiritually, I could not help but be filled with the Spirit of Christ as I listened to the ministers speaking to us each night and Sunday morning. Our Bishop, Rev. Goodpaster, gave each church a challenge for the next year: To engage in one new mission outreach program and have one new Profession of Faith member and of course to remember and put into action our Mission-Follow Jesus, Make Disciples, Transform the World.
We give thanks and appreciation to Rev. John Taylor or Pastor Taylor as we call him, for a job well done in the past year and look forward to another successful year of ministry together. As laity you are very important, for the preacher is not supposed to do all the work, rather it is up to us to reach out to others and to put into action the Great Commandment to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.
To God be the Glory.
~ Pat Byrum