June 8, 2023
Dear Hyde Park Family,
By the time you read today’s Midweek Message, I will be in Lakeland, Florida for the yearly gathering of the Florida Annual Conference, made up of clergy and lay delegates from every United Methodist congregation in the state. All four of our clergy team will be there, along with lay representatives from our church.
I appreciate your prayers for our work, as we organize, vision, and plan the work of the Conference over the upcoming year. Pray for our new bishop, Tom Berlin, who presides over the proceedings. And please pray for me and the Board of Ordained Ministry, which I chair, as we present ministerial candidates for approval at tonight’s clergy session at 6pm. I would appreciate prayers for clarity and courage as I make my presentation and answer questions, as we navigate the tensions that exist within the denomination at large.
Most of all, pray that these next several days be times of joy, connection, and hope for the future.
On March 3, 1785, John Wesley wrote a brief essay titled “Thoughts Upon Some Late Occurrences,” which included reflections on the first time he gathered clergy together for what would become an annual time of conferencing:
“In June 1744, I desired my brother and a few other clergymen to meet me in London, to consider how we should proceed to save our own souls and those who heard us. After some time, I invited the lay preachers that were in the house to meet with us. We conferred together for several days and were much comforted and strengthened thereby.”
Over time, Wesley realized that the long-term viability of the Methodist movement depended on all the preachers coming together for a time of holy conferencing, to conduct the important work of maintaining “doctrine, experience, right conduct, and discipline as essential to the permanency of Methodism.”
279 years later, United Methodist clergy and lay delegates still gather every year for those same purposes, along with celebrating ministries, worshipping together, establishing leadership teams, approving budgets, and deciding missional and strategic goals for the work of the church. The core purpose of the annual conference gathering, however, is still the same as it was for John Wesley and the first delegates: to be “much comforted and strengthened thereby.”
Thank you for the prayers!
Grace and Peace,
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
THIS SUNDAY: I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
We continue our series “Jesus Revealed” with an exploration of John 8 and 9, in which Jesus calls himself the “light of the world.” Learn from two very powerful stories in John’s gospel about how Jesus shines the light of conviction and forgiveness into the darkness, even the darkness within ourselves.
A VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL THANK YOU!
We are joyous and grateful to announce that all our donation items for Vacation Bible School have been claimed, and all our volunteer slots have been filled! Thank you for your willingness to give and serve as we welcome about 200 children to an experience of God’s love at the end of this month!