Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Leaning into our relationships with God and each other

2/18/2019

Dear Friends,

As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop. You may recognize the previous sentence as a way in which I typically conclude my blogs. It is more than that, though. It is also a deep-felt expression of how I feel about serving as your episcopal leader.

Granted, sometimes I am disappointed and frustrated by situations related to our ministry together. I am sure that many of you are too.

Mostly, though, you and your ministries inspire and encourage me! Why? Baptisms, Professions of Faith and Average Worship Attendance are up in 2019 as compared to the same period of time in 2018. Online worship is growing at a fast rate. Our Mission Together giving has held nearly level over the past several years in the midst of a challenging denominational climate. Fresh Expressions, Celebrate Recovery, and new worship services and faith communities are developing across the Conference. Ministry in North Alabama is happening among a variety of demographics and ethnicities. In short, we are growing in our capacity to reach more people for Christ. Thanks for all that you are doing to make this a reality.

Even so, it is a tender time in our North Alabama Conference and our denomination at large.

A bishop friend recently asked me, “What are you doing to manage the stress of the quickly approaching General Conference?” I responded, “I am leaning into my relationships with God and others.” I know that many of you are doing the same.

We lean into our relationship with God through means of grace such as:

  • prayer, fasting, reading Scripture and journaling;
  • mission outreach and faith-sharing;
  • worship and the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.

Likewise, we lean into our relationships with others as we:

  • have honest conversations with both those who agree with our perspectives and those who think differently than us;
  • assume the best about each other’s motivations;
  • and hold onto one another when walking through tumultuous times.

We need God and each other in order to be the best we can be. God works through us as individuals and as a North Alabama Conference to help us be more than we would be otherwise.

In these days leading into General Conference, here is my prayer for each of us and our beloved church. “Come, Holy Spirit, come. As we lean into You and each other, strengthen us and give us the peace and focus that comes from right relationship with you and one another. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray these things. Amen.”

As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Blessings,
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference


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