Sunday began with worship at the bright hour of 7:30 a.m.! The Call to Worship was from the Native American tradition and brought us together in God’s presence with these words, “In the name of Jesus, we are all related.” When the choir anthem included these words, “You are the face of God,” I could look out over the several thousand people gathered and see Christ everywhere.

In Bishop Ken Carter’s sermon, he referenced Ephesians 2:15-16, “He (Jesus) canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God.” Our story as human beings made in the image of God is that Jesus has overcome our divisions and united the church for mission.

At my place this morning, I found a cross, which I held in my hand for much of the day, a reminder of the new life that each one of us has through the cross. The first part of the day was a recap of the work of the Commission on a Way Forward over the past several years. I am deeply grateful for the many, many hours this very diverse group of clergy and laity from around the world spent developing relationships and preparing three proposals, the Traditional Plan, the One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan.

In the afternoon we elected a chair, vice-chair, and secretary from the body for the General Conference’s work as one Legislative Committee. After some tech glitches that needed to be addressed were fixed in the individual voting machines and headsets, the body prioritized its work in caring for the petitions before them. Tomorrow will be devoted to addressing the three plans and the other petitions according to the prioritization.   

I thank God for the good spirit in the Conference and the commitment to treat one another with kindness and gentleness as we spend much of tomorrow engaging in holy conferencing. In the name of Jesus, we are, indeed, all related.