Greetings Lay Servants,
Let me introduce myself to you as your new Conference Director. I am truly humbled to be in this position.
My LSM journey began in October 2005 with the Basic Course at historic Cochran Chapel UMC in Dallas. Since that time, I have taken advantage of the many LSM courses offered, striving to become a more knowledgeable and better equipped servant of the Lord in my local church, Lake Cities; my district, North Central (formerly Dallas-Denton); and the North Texas Conference. Following in the footsteps of Herman Totten, my mentor, and my friend, is a daunting task. Walk with me on this journey.
“Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.” (Isaiah 43:10 CEB)
On January 1, 2020, did any of us imagine the new things in store for us, or the number of ways in the desert and paths in the wilderness we would be navigating this year? In addition to the viral pandemic and racial justice explosion, the world has dealt with wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, swarms of locusts, the US presidential election (well, we did know that was coming) and more.
Two of these events have profoundly affected United Methodists! First, most unimaginable of all, the pandemic closed our church buildings. In addition, our Jurisdictional, General and Annual Conferences were postponed. Second, the death of George Floyd in police custody and resulting demonstrations and riots have caused United Methodists to truly bring racism to the forefront.
You will find me to be the eternal optimist – my glass is always half-full. Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses, “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (CEB)
So, what do I see as the good from all this?
The pandemic and the church
Our church buildings were closed, yet the church immediately found new ways to witness the love of God in Christ Jesus. Most worship services are now online for all to see.
For some churches, it was the pandemic that forced them to join the 21st century. They may have talked about sharing worship services online as other churches were seen doing so but the shutting of church doors made it happen. Our churches have joined Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube and other virtual platforms.
Business meetings and small group meetings did not stop! We have adapted ministries such as our food pantries to be drive-through. Churches are planning for ways to reopen the doors – safely.
Racism and the church
Perhaps the events that have arisen as the result of the George Floyd killing have given me the most hope – the hope that racism will end in my lifetime. There are so many who have denied its existence and who hopefully are now realizing that racism is real!
I, like many white people have always believed that I am not racist. However, the George Floyd situation has angered me to the point that I am looking deep into my soul to find any racism hidden there so that I can eradicate it! There is far too much evidence to deny that white privilege is real. I have been praying, studying, reading books, listening to podcasts and more. Hopefully, you are too.
I look forward to continuing my involvement in Lay Servant Ministries as Conference Director. Again, walk with me on this journey.