“…be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
It is nearing the end of November, where for many, our minds our shifting to focus on the collective calendar celebration of Thanksgiving. It is on this day, where we pause to recount the many gifts and graces in our lives, and give great thanks. Now, we know as faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we are to possess lives that reflect an attitude of gratitude because of the One who loves us most. So, in this season of thankfulness, I would like to lend my words of thanks and appreciation to this Sensational Central District and the over 35,000 United Methodist.
I give THANKS for the 110 congregations in the Central District. I give THANKS for the ways we are committed to being Christ-Centered, Community-Connected, and Missionally-Centric. I give THANKS to a wonderful Central District team of Greg O’Conner (Conference Assistant), and Rev. Bob Coleman (retiring Associate District Superintendent), Terry Tolliver (District Lay Leader), Anthony Swinger (outgoing District Lay Servant Director). I give THANKS to a dynamic Central District Operational Team, who is committed to being strategic thinkers and innovative dreamers who lead alongside me. I give THANKS for the congregations who support our Conference and District Tithe, because without this investment we would not be able to support and resource as a District and Annual Conference. I give THANKS for the congregations who, even through challenges and difficulties, continue to emerge as over-comers. I give THANKS for the congregations who are in the process of discerning the ongoing sustainability of ministry, as they focus on what is best for the Kin-dom. I give THANKS to clergy colleagues, who at times may feel under-appreciated, I am grateful for the ways you faithfully live out your call to serve God and God’s people. I give THANKS to the committed lay persons, in the Central District, who give of their time, prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. I give THANKS for the ways we show and share the love of Jesus Christ through our missions and gifts of service. I give THANKS for the ways we continually keep in the forefront our mandate to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” I give THANKS that despite the unknowns regarding our denomination, we are more focused on making an impact and introducing people to Jesus.
And finally, I give great THANKS to our God, who loves us dearly, deeply, and unconditionally. I give great THANKS to Jesus the Christ, who indeed is our Rock and Redeemer. I give great THANKS to God’s abiding Spirit, who comforts, challenges, and encourages us each day along this journey of faith.
Indeed during this season of THANKS-GIVING, may we be transformed to reflect a life of THANKS-LIVING…and may we share it with all in whom we encounter!
With a Grateful Heart…
Dr. Aleze Fulbright
Conference Superintendent Serving Central District