Well, our first Town Hall of 2020 has come and gone. The topic for this town hall was the “2020 General Conference Preview.” We had close to 200 persons present, from our church and about a dozen other United Methodist Churches in our district! The presentations and the follow-up Q & A were both informative and instructive; and everything went well, thanks to the many who helped!
I want to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to:
Our Leesburg United Methodist Church "Way Forward Together Task Force", ushers (thanks, Walt, for organizing!), greeters (inside and outside), hospitality team (thanks, Amber & Jack, as always!), AV Tech Team (thanks, Frank, for the live stream, and Chuck for backup!), Heather Klein and our Communion team, and our childcare workers. We especially thank the Rev. Kirk Nave (Braddock Street UMC) and the Rev. Keith Boyette (Retired; WCA President), who drove from Winchester and Fredericksburg respectively and gave their valuable time to be with us. I also offer thanks for the Rev. Rob Vaughn (Community of Faith UMC) and his willingness to be with us. Because of his foresight, we had Kirk as a backup when Rob called in sick on Saturday. And, thank you, all, who took time to come and listen, learn, and pray for the future of our United Methodist Church, and LUMC.
Please keep in mind all that was discussed on Sunday was a preview to the United Methodist Church's General Conference in May; nothing has been formally decided, and won’t be until the General Conference meets May 5-15.
In the meantime, our Church Leadership Team is prayerfully preparing our own LUMC Response Plan for whatever comes out of the General Conference. In light of the recently proposed “Protocol for Reconciliation and Graceful Separation,” and several other similar proposals for structural change, we realize that some sort of structural change will likely be approved at this General Conference. And, whatever changes are approved will take some time to implement. Because of this window of opportunity, we believe we will be able to adjust our plans accordingly.
Between now and then, however, let me assure you: we will continue to keep our focus on our primary mission, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We will continue to welcome any and all who come to LUMC. More than simply welcoming those who come, we will be learning, exploring, and experimenting with new ways to reach new people with the good news of God’s saving grace and love. The reality is, we cannot be all things to all people, but we can be something to someone; we cannot reach all people, but we can extend to anyone willing to receive, the One who is Everything and who offers to everyone – life in Christ, the unmatched gift of God’s salvation.
In my almost 35 years of pastoral ministry, I have witnessed time and again the Lord of wind and waves steer the boat safely through the storm. I do not doubt that Jesus who promised to build his church will lead us through whatever the future brings; and as long as he deems, I will walk with you.