Once again, I’ve chosen a recent page from the “Lead Like Jesus” devotional series to frame this month’s article, and in so doing, address some changes and opportunities in our Alexandria District and the Virginia Conference to give us a new perspective.  The devotion starts with a few pointed sentences, transitions into scripture, and ends with an appropriate prayer.  Leading like Jesus is counterintuitive to the world’s way of thinking.  Just as Paul had to take time to integrate his encounter with Jesus into his previously existing worldview, so we need to take time to integrate Jesus’ perspective into our leadership thinking and practices.  As His people, we have constant, direct access to the Father through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  From John 15:16 … “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” 

First new perspective:  I’m sure that by now most of you are aware that the Alexandria District will have a new District Superintendent effective July 1, 2021 – the Rev. Dr. Sarah Calvert.  First, we need to thank Rev. Jeff Mickle for his dedicated and devoted ministry leadership as our missional strategist over the last seven years – thank you, Jeff!  Next, I want to assure you that the Alexandria District (goals, strategies, ministries, and committees) will remain in place until a possible further decision and vote of the Virginia Conference to decrease the number of districts.  From a Bi-District perspective, I believe this change will be minimal as we do so many things in conjunction with the Arlington District.  I would suggest you stay apprised of any future developments by going to the District Alignment Team page at vaumc.org/dat

Second new perspective:  Due to continued pandemic concerns and the safety concerns of having larger gatherings, the decision was made a while back to have another virtual Annual Conference – I would classify this as an opportunity for many!  The theme for Annual Conference 2021 is “United As One” and the dates are June 18 and 19; however, there will be other activities before, during and after to include orientation, system check-out, bible study, guest preaching, commissioning and ordination, laity worship, and services of remembrance and retirement.  And yes, the technical aspects will be better than last year – to include virtual meeting spaces, display spaces, and varying dimensions of interaction!!  Stay up to date and informed by going to vaumc.org/ac2021.   [Learn about how Alexandria & Arlington will serve on June 19 here.]

I close with the prayer from the ‘new perspective’ devotion – “Father, in Jesus’ name we come, asking that You would transform our leadership perspective.  Help us integrate your call to servanthood into our leadership thinking and practices.  Give us wisdom, give us the insight that comes from Your Spirit, we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.” 


John Meeuwissen
Alexandria District Lay Leader