Late last summer I was invited to Plano, Texas, to participate on the planning team for the Aldersgate Covenant Gathering. I associate Aldersgate with the place where John Wesley’s heart was strangely warmed. I understand covenant as an agreement between two parties. But I was unfamiliar with the Aldersgate Covenant. Intrigued by the invitation, I decided to check it out by attending the first planning meeting.
This is what I discovered at the meeting in Plano. The twelve or so leaders on the planning team are diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, profession and theology. We range in age from 20s-60s. . . come from different parts of the country. . . are a mix of laity, clergy and bishops. . . and have a variety of theological perspectives.
However, we hold in common a very powerful passion: a hope for renewal and revival in the church. This is not a nostalgic desire to return to a time in the past. Nor is it a simplistic response to the complexities of this world. Neither is it an effort to “save” the institution. Rather it is a conviction that true renewal will only happen as we center ourselves in Jesus Christ. It is an understanding that all of our programs and techniques are for naught without God’s Holy Spirit breathing life into them. It is a longing to be as involved as possible in God’s movement of transformation across the world.
The Aldersgate Covenant Gathering is an opportunity for United Methodists from across the connection who have a passion for renewal to come together to pray, worship and watch for God’s movement among us. Our hope is that persons from a variety of backgrounds, regions and perspectives will show up in Kansas City for 20 very special hours on May 16-17, 2014.
To learn more about this event or to register for it, click here to download information or visit www.aldersgatecovenant.org. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett