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A Call to Seven Days of Prayer from Bishop Peggy Johnson
29 May 2014Posted by on
Praying without Ceasing – A Call for Seven Days of Prayer
We invite you to be in prayer for the people of God, as the children of the Creator come together glorify the Holy One. A gathering of God’s people is June 5-7, 2014. The Peninsula – Delaware Annual Conference convenes at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland. Let us come together in preparation for our gathering, as we pray together for one another. Seven days of praying without ceasing, as we call on the Lord to: Heal God’s World: Physically and Spiritually.
Praying without Ceasing – A Call for Seven Days of Prayer:
Day one – Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
Holy Conferencing: “Healing God’s World: Physically and Spiritually” – June 5-7, 2014
Welcome to the time of preparation for Peninsula-Delaware’s Annual Conference. John Wesley called the meetings of the early Methodists “Holy Conferencing.” The Greek word for “Holy” (hagios) means “other,” “different from the world,” or “set apart for God” (www.biblehub.com). Like our forefathers and mothers we are called to a sacred time of worship, learning, prayer, and conversation with God in the center of it all.
How exciting that we have Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball with us for our opening service of Holy Communion. She was elected at the 2012 NEJ Conference and grew up and served with distinction as an Elder, District Superintendent and Director of Connectional Ministries in Pen-Del. She is now serving as the bishop of the West Virginia Annual Conference. And who would want to miss the solemn moments when we ordain and commission women and men for ministry, honor our retirees. We will hear a sermon from Bishop Ernest Lyght as we remember those who have passed into the Church Triumphant since our last meeting. Bishop Lyght is a child of the Delaware Conference and has served as an Elder in the New Jersey Area and as the Episcopal leader of the New York and the West Virginia Annual Conferences.
Rev. Olu Brown of the Impact UMC of Atlanta, Georgia will teach us about healing God’s world spiritually and Mr. John Hill of the General Board of Church and Society will teach us how to heal God’s world physically. We will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Delaware Conference as well. The lay session will be hearing from Dr. HiRho Park of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. There is something holy here; set apart and precious happening at annual conference!!
As we relate to one another during conversation, debate and in the sharing of our hearts (which can often be of different perspectives) we are also called to have an attitude of holiness. Unlike the world, when we disagree we are to respond in a Christ-like way. In his works John Wesley reminds us to keep our words in the spirit of grace, seasoned with salt and meant to minister grace to the hearer. (Wesley Works, (10: 856-857). The Northeast Jurisdiction of the UMC adopted the following rules for Holy Conferencing: “Remember that every person is a child of God, listen before speaking, strive to understand from another’s point of view, speak about issues, do not defame persons. Disagree without being disagreeable. Pray, in silence or aloud, before decisions. Let prayer interrupt your busy-ness. Strive to accurately reflect the views of others.” It would be well that we do the same during our conference.
I call us all to prayer and fasting as we prepare for our June 5-7th meeting. Pray for God to do a new thing among us and to use all that we say and do for good. One of the priorities of Holy Conferencing for John Wesley was that these meetings would always encourage social holiness. So may we take from our conference new ways of reaching out to the poor, the marginalized and the lost of this world.