Thanks to each of you for your part in a wonderful 2014 Annual Conference. We worshipped and learned together . . . had a beautiful licensing/commissioning/ordination service . . . remembered the lives of those clergy who died this past year . . . accomplished business . . . elected delegates for the 2016 General/Jurisdictional Conferences . . . celebrated raising $911,035.96 toward our $1 million goal for Imagine No Malaria . . . rejoiced in what God is doing among us . . . and adopted a Ministry Action Plan that sets the course for our future as an Annual Conference. We particularly highlighted the work of our excellent Conference New Church team led by Rev. Dale Cohen and Rev. Matt Jones. This outstanding team is providing awesome leadership and resourcing for us as we plant new churches, develop new worship services and reach out through new ministries.
In addition, we were challenged through the inspiring preaching and teaching of Bishop G. Lindsey Davis to reach more persons for Christ. Then we were moved on Wednesday morning by the powerful sermon from one of our own, Rev. Alan Beasley, who called us to renew our commitment to influence our communities and world for Jesus Christ.
As I continue to ruminate about Annual Conference, I keep coming back to 2 questions. What next step is God calling me to take in reaching others for Christ? What is God leading me to do that will influence my community in positive ways? My answer to those 2 questions will determine whether Annual Conference 2014 has an impact on my life beyond being 4 good days of fellowship with a group of United Methodist laity and clergy from North Alabama.
I invite you to consider these same questions over the next week. Talk to your Pastor, District Superintendent or someone else about your responses. Then join me in taking next steps to reach more persons for Christ and to influence the community.
Yes, thank you for your part in a wonderful Annual Conference. As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett