College is a time for profound introspection, and I promised myself as a freshman that I would not let that opportunity go to waste. Now, as a senior, I can reflect on the personality quirks I’ve unearthed. First, I am somewhat lazy. I eat too much, and I rarely exercise. Second, I am malleable. I added an entire semester to my college career, because I thought I wanted to be a politician after watching a couple episodes of The West Wing. Most importantly, I do not give compliments and praise as much as I should. Too often, the important people in my life go unthanked.

I thank the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. I thank all Indiana United Methodists.

As a preteen and young teenager, I travelled with my ordained mother to the South Indiana Annual Conference session almost every year. At this gathering of United Methodist clergy and laypeople, some of my mom’s clergy friends took me under their wing. My group of pastor friends, as I called them, included me in their conversations. They joked with me, and they encouraged me. I looked forward to the summers when I could stand amongst these titans of faith and sing “How Great Thou Art” in the IU Auditorium.

Local churches have had a profound impact on my life, too. Each church offered the kind of meaningful friendship that lasts. During difficult moments in my life, Indiana United Methodists supported me.

I would not be who I am today without Indiana United Methodists. I am not alone.

Hoosiers from Elkhart to Evansville have benefited from the compassion and ministries of Indiana United Methodists. From the small groups offered in our local churches to the advocacy work of groups like United Methodist Women and Indiana Conference Mission and Advocacy Team, United Methodist empathy permeates the social fabric of the state, and I believe that Hoosiers are better for it.

If you are reading this, you are someone who deserves thanks. You are the reason that the United Methodist Church in Indiana continues to benefit the lives of those in our communities. You are the reason that Indiana United Methodists are known for their love, their hospitality, and their commitment to understanding the grace of Jesus Christ through Scripture, tradition, reason and experience.

As a denomination and as an Annual Conference, we have much to celebrate. United Methodists have a long history of Christ-filled compassion and social justice in this state. It is our responsibility as the Indiana United Methodists of 2012 to strengthen that legacy. It is our responsibility to learn new, effective ways to serve new communities in Indiana. Our communities are in need of earnest compassion, and they need it now.

Thank you for your work, your compassion and for helping the people of Indiana.

Ben Boruff, a senior at Indiana University in Bloomington and delegate to North Central Jursidictional Conference.