As a Teaching Elder Commissioner (Minister of Word and Sacrament) to our denomination’s General Assembly presently being held in Portland, Oregon I have experienced moments of pride and pain. I have been in awe of the 567 Commissioners and some 170 advisory delegates, who elected the first ever co-moderators (rather than the moderator and vice-moderator model) and the first ever female moderatorial team, we have a new Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson who will follow the capable and much beloved footsteps of Gradye Parsons, and we have added the historic Belhar Confession to our Constitution. I have met many new people, as well as, having the chance to reconnect with friends from the past. Broad smiles and warm hugs and thought-filled conversations have engaged and challenged me. Some may think that this time in Portland (eight days) is a vacation, well if you call sitting in a huge convention hall from 8:30 a.m. from 11:30 p.m. a vacation, then I guess yes, that is what it is. But seriously, this time away has afforded me a great opportunity, a chance to remember why I love the church and make manifest the ever present hope in the future. If you want to see that your future is crumbling then it will probably crumble, if you want to see your future as hope-filled, then it will probably be filled with hope. True, people are different and have different opinions, however there is more that unites us than that which separates us. Call me naive, idealistic, or Pollyanna, but I firmly believe that good works will breed more good works. Kind words words will yield kind words.
All we have to do is choose love, choose to see the good in people.
During my committee, which was called The Way Forward, the co-moderators stopped by to visit. Co-Moderator Jan Edmiston said, “What breaks God’s heart in your neighborhood?” and that is where ministry is, that is where the church should be, that is what we are called to do. The future hinges on God’s heart and where we are called to be the church. I’m glad the church has not given up because hope exists where faithful people try make the world a better, more gracious place.