I know that many of you are wondering what’s going to happen at our upcoming General Conference (GC) 2019 which takes place later this month from Feb. 23-26.  I know this because quite a few of you had asked me that question, whether at meetings, church training sessions, worship, and even at Costco.  So, let me share something that has appeared in some of our Virginia Conference resource material to prepare us for this event.  This is an excerpt from an interview with the Very Rev. Ian Markham, Dean & President of Virginia Theological Seminary, [about what we might learn from The Episcopal Church’s experience].

“One of the most important dimensions after GC is there will be a whole variety of blogs and news outlets that provide summaries and about 70% of them will be inaccurate and they will turn it into this side won and this side lost, and they’ll probably emphasize division and search for the angry voices on either side.  One of the things a congregation can do is to ensure the decisions that were made are accurately reported to the congregation in all their complexity because most of these decisions are complicated.  A whole host of provisions and riders will be added and included until a resolution will finally triumph.  So actually, making sure the congregation really knows what happens and then really gets behind the headlines is a very important part of the ministry immediately after GC.  Don’t feed into the winner/loser scenario.  Honor the voices of those who are hurt and in pain as a result of the decisions.  Recognize that all these decisions carry enormous implications for fellowship, for faith, and for the continuing journey together as a congregation.”

Kinda makes you want to re-read that poem about church that’s going around on social media these days!

Church is hard … But, here is the beauty of church –

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.  Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of God.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation … sin confronted-hearts restored.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust, a bearer of burdens, and a giver of hope.

Church is a family.  A family coming together and setting aside differences.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners – turned saints, is where He resides;

and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader