Ed White, Senior Pastor
Dell King, Associate Pastor
The Congregation, Ministers
Glimpses of Easter Grace and Truth in our Memphis Annual Conference... Over the past three days, we were part of a dozen or more folks from our church family who attended the 2017 Session of the Memphis Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. We were reminded of some simple truths about who we are as followers of Christ and about our unique Wesleyan Methodist heritage. At one point, a conference leader reminded us that as Wesleyan Christians, “We are part of an organization that cares as much about the lost as it does about the found.”
Each day’s schedule was as full as the sanctuary in the attached photo. With communion beginning at 7:30 a.m. and closing worship ending as late as 8:30 p.m. the days were long but full, abundantly full, of word, song, prayer, and witness of God’s work in the over 400 UM churches throughout our annual conference.
We had a brief but meaning - full celebration of the ten - year anniversary of Grace Place Ministry. It was ten years ago that our Annual Conference, with the leadership of Rev. Diane Harrison, began what is today one of only two United Methodist Churches in America that have been established inside a prison.
We also took part in a memorial service, commemorating those clergy and spouses who have joined that great cloud of witnesses in heaven. Rather than being members of a local church, clergy are members of the Annual Conference. Our celebration for them at annual conference, which is attended by all churches served by those pastors and spouses, looks quite a bit like our All Saints service we celebrate each year on that first Sunday of November.
We saw and learned more about our brothers and sisters serving Christ in many other places throughout our annual conference. Orrin is pastor of a congregation outside Martin, TN. His family has taken faith very seriously all his life, so seriously that Orrin is the 41 st person in his extended family over the past 200 years who has answered God’s call to serve in full - time ministry. Just taking the time to count and keep up with that many family members highlights how seriously the family is about serving Christ.
These are just a few snippets of what these last 3 - 4 days have been like. Our team, clergy and laity delegates, will be sharing more about this week in the days to come. Very glad to represent you at annual conference and very glad to represent Christ alongside you and our FUMC Family here in Dyersburg.
Ed, Dell and the First UMC Family