Even before the opening worship service started, rich conversations were being held. TJ and I met with two people from 1001 New Worshiping Communities to talk about fundraising strategies to support our emerging congregations and to dream about inviting new leaders to plant new communities across the northeast.
The Moderator preached on reconciliation during the opening worship service, calling on us to extend love and grace without reservation, simply because we are overwhelmed by the love and grace we have received from God. We have not done anything to deserve or merit that grace and love, so perhaps we might learn how to extend that grace and love without looking for merit or deserving.
We shared in a time of prayer for all those whose lives have been ended or forever changed due to gun violence, especially remembering the nine people killed in a church a year ago and the 49 killed at the Pulse nightclub just a week ago.
Fittingly, the offering for that service was taken for the Peacemaking and Global Witness offering. Later in the day, we learned that over $20,000 had been offered for that work, something to celebrate indeed.
Even as I write this, we are hearing from the co-moderator pairs ahead of the first major vote for the commissioners. The first speaker is lifting up the reality that has been clear all day: being part of the connectional church makes us stronger and helps us move a little closer to a day when all people will be valued as God's beloved children. This is work we do, here, across the country, and around the world, through the ties that bind us together in God's amazing love. Even as we struggle with shrinking resources, we are changing the world; even as we seek to discern the future of our denomination, we're committed to working today to making the world we live in a better place.