By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”—2 Corinthians 5:7
As you receive this edition of the Advocate, delegates from across our state are gathering for a time of Christian conferencing and celebration. In keeping with our theme of walking by faith and not by sight, we will be experiencing a new location and a new opportunity to make an impact in the Upstate as United Methodists in South Carolina.
When I think about Annual Conference, it has always been a time of reinforcing our identity, mission and ministry as a community of faith. In other words, we are people who love God, seek to do God’s will, love and cherish each other and treat others with dignity and honesty, as well as people who build bridges of understanding and peace. This is who we are, what we do and why it matters.
For me, it is a time to celebrate God-sized dreams by walking by faith and not by sight.
As we gather, I offer this prayer tucked for our time of Christian conferencing and celebration:
For every beginning, there is an ending.
For every memory, there is a dream.
As we share in the excitement of mission and ministry and with laity and clergy
who offer themselves to lead us, may we cultivate the capacity to respect and honor.
May we live with a purpose bigger than ourselves.
May we recognize that our lives will be measured by our actions more than our words.
May we be vigilant in service to all regardless of their place or station in life.
May we be ever-mindful to
watch our thoughts, because they become our words;
watch our words, because they become our actions;
watch our actions, because they become our habits;
watch our habits, because they become our character;
watch our character, because it determines our destiny.
May we walk away from this gathering inspired and determined to be active in our witness and to move beyond ourselves.
May the God of grace and mercy be with us.
In the name of the Risen Christ, Amen.