April 06, 2021
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
It is a pleasure, privilege, and blessing to cordially invite each and every one to our 2021 Annual Conference to be held virtually from June 10-12. Clergy Session will be June 9. Annual Conference registration will open at noon today, April 6, 2021.
We continue to wade through the challenges of COVID-19 that have affected our lives and ministries in numerous ways. As your Episcopal leader, I am grateful to each and every one of you, your churches, and faith communities as you have responded to the question the Psalmist calls all of us to answer: "How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?" (Psalm 137:4).
In miraculous ways, you have been adaptive people of God in ministry and mission, in the spirit of Babylonian captives, realizing that our hope is to get to the Promised Land, not just for those in the church but for all the children of God. I am also grateful to the sessions team for continuing with the theme of "Building Beloved Community.”
As baptized Christians who have decided to follow our Risen Lord Jesus Christ who showed us building beloved community is an ongoing work of the people of Easter and Pentecost, we are called to work ceaselessly in transforming our communities, nation, and world. We are reminded that the fabric of humanity is ripped and torn by selfishness, bigotry, pride, and human greed.
It is my deepest hope and earnest prayer that we prepare ourselves to gather virtually in June, clearly understanding the DNA of Methodism is grounded on the five means of grace: Prayer, Searching Scriptures, Receiving the Lord's Supper, Fasting, and Christian Conferencing.
Friends, Holy Conferencing or Christian Conferencing is a privilege and a blessing given to us as a sacred trust! May we take time to read all the materials and participate in pre-conference conversations, asking questions, getting all the information needed, and prayerfully discerning them, so we truly experience and celebrate real, Holy Conferencing and not a political convention in June.
There are no winners or losers in a Holy Conferencing, for we all work to build God's reign, not ours. Additionally, may we keep in mind the three simple rules in the Wesleyan tradition: Do no harm, Do good, Stay in love with God. In order to be faithful to these rules, let us make every effort to be flexible, understanding and forgiving of one another.
May we remind ourselves as we do our virtual conferencing that God has blessed us as a Conference with participants who speak many languages with variety and accents! Some have to think in their native tongue first before speaking in English. Additionally, not all are familiar with Roberts Rules of Order. Realizing all of this, may we come totally prepared to extend Christian love to its maximum level!
We are blessed to have the presence of our own sister Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, who has graciously agreed to bring us the memorial service message as our Conference preacher, and Dr. Marcia McFee and Dr. Mark Miller as our Conference worship leaders. Bishop Easterling will also join me in our Service of Ordination and Commissioning.
Friends, as your resident bishop, I look forward to each and every one of you joining hearts with one another enabling us to have truly blessed Holy/Christian Conferencing.
Most importantly, may we join one another and call upon our churches to be in constant prayer, so as our global community watches our Holy/Christian Conferencing, all may see we are the God-bearers, filled with the love of Christ and molded by the power of the Holy Spirit!
In Christ's love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar