This week I am attending the meeting of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, a gathering of our active and retired bishops from all around the world. As usual, we began our week-long meeting/retreat with a Memorial Service to remember those bishops and spouses who have died since we last met. Then our opening session included an excellent Address by our new President, Bishop Peter Weaver, who reminded us of the kind of Christian group we are called to be.

Bishop Weaver used three interesting terms to remind us of our "address" as a Council: we are called to live, he said, at the intersection of Grace Place, Embrace Place, and Run-a-good-race Place. Those three names represented the following aspects of our life together:

  1. Living in communion with God
  2. Living in community with one another
  3. Living as a group who are in co-mission to the world

That's a good reminder of how any Christian group, church, or conference is called to live our faith. We begin by discovering God's grace which brings us together as children of God, we extend that communion by embracing each other in genuine community, and we discover that we are to be co-workers in mission with God. No Christian group exists for itself -- it only exists to further faith development, to be an inclusive community, and to extend God's grace in mission to others.

How does your church or Sunday School class or Bible study group compare to this three-fold description? Do you nurture a sense of living in communion with God? Are you community which embraces and welcomes all? And do you have a mission beyond yourselves?

I pray that all of our United Methodist churches and groups within the Indiana Area will be places of communion, community, and commission.

from Bishop Michael J. Coyner