The 26th session of the Desert Southwest Conference has ended. This year seemed remarkably calm and smooth. No lengthy discussion over issues kept us in long sessions. The worship services were a mighty blessing to all. The central theme was “Extravagant Hospitality.” All offerings over the Annual Conference time were dedicated to Africa University.
We began with a remembrance service of those who have gone home this year and celebrated their lives of service for the church. Thursday session informed us of “Welcoming Training.” Trainers for this program have been trained so that we can attend training by them. The program is designed to help us better serve as the church; think about what we do well and what we can improve on.
The main speaker for Saturday was Rev. Clif Christopher who led us through faithful stewardship practices. His book, which I purchased for us, titled “Not your parents offering plate” was the core of his message. Clif and the Bishop agreed that we all should be tithing, and that it must start with the pastor.
Remembering the church in our wills is one great way to keep the Church alive after we are no longer. This is important for us to consider as a true way to pass on the Church to future generations. Keeping the Church alive is the gift of love for those who need to know Christ.
The outgoing Conference Youth Director, Jim Nibblink gave bibles to the youth. What an awesome gift. Also in the gift area we were given the totals for health kits given to UMCOR for Haiti relief at 60,000 and the total dollars raised was $2,000,000. These totals were a far cry from their first hopes. God multiplied their prayers and ours.
I encourage you to go the conference web site to keep up on the immigration reform work, www.desertsouthwest.org. Also please visit www.rethinkchurch.org to see what we are doing to rethink the church inside and out. This is our commercial promotion on the television as well. These two web sites have the information we need to know and it is far too extensive for me to interpret for you.
Thank you to all who kept your representatives and churches in prayer as we met.
Peace and Grace to you all in the name of our Lord.
Pastor Vicki Lerdahl