|We are at the beginning of a new Annual Conference year, as many of our clergy were re-appointed back to their places of service, while we welcome a few new clergy faces and families to the West District*. I pray that over the next twelve months of ministry, despite the ongoing challenges (navigating the effects of the global pandemic and denominational unknowns), the lay and clergy of the West District will not allow the challenges to hinder the witness of living our vision of being Willing in our Missional Service and Way-Out in our Witness for Jesus Christ and advancing the mission of making disciples.The 2021 Annual Conference year theme is based on the scriptural text from Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. This passage is found in the Sermon on the Mount and chronicled within the Beatitudes. What I appreciate about this passage and believe is our challenge, is to understand that peacemakers, as children of God, are active in carrying and embodying the ministry of reconciliation in conflicted situations and among conflicted persons. To read this passage and live out this message, moves us beyond the aspiration of “can we all just get along” to actively seeking means and finding ways for the message of reconciliation to be carried out and brought forth.
As followers of Jesus Christ this concept is not unknown or unfamiliar to us, because if we look at the full scope of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Christ’s mission was to reconcile God’s people to God. Friends this is not an easy task, but as children of God, we go knowing WHO is with us in this charge! This brings to mind and is all surmised from the well-known hymn, UMH #431-Let There Be Peace On Earth, with its simple lyric, “Let there be peace on earth; And let it begin with me; Let There Be Peace on Earth; The peace that was meant to be…” (History of the Hymn)
It is my honor to serve alongside you for another year! So, in this new Annual Conference year, may we be those who listen for the sake of understanding rather than being understood, labor for the public good, and may we lead by spreading the message in living out the spirit of peace in all the world. Perhaps you will join me, as I begin in September, reading the book, “How the Body of Christ Talks, by C. Christopher Smith, as a means of learning and resourcing around being faithful peacemakers.
In Faithful Service for the Sake of Peace,
Rev. Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving West District
P.S.: Have you considered joining us on this experience with Educational Opportunities Tours, as we explore the Church’s Response to the Matters of Justice on the Civil Rights in America tour January 13-17, 2022. To learn more, view this video: Church’s Response to the Matters of Justice or to register, Civil Rights In America Tour brochure
P.S.S: Happy New Annual Conference Year! These are the current welcomes and celebrations for the West District…
*We welcome to the West District: Rev. Chris Gadlage (United Methodist Temple UMC), Pastor Kerry Clear (Brazil First), Pastor Heidi Clear (Peniel), Pastor Noel Whiteman (Covington UMC), Rev. Steve Ailes (Fillmore), and Rev. Michelle Knight (New Ross UMC)