But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. ~Psalm 79:13
Beloved Epworth Community,
I’ve just returned from visiting my son at Willamette University, a United Methodist college in Oregon. Each time I’m on the campus, I’m moved by a sense of familiarity with the culture and messages I encounter. One of those messages is the school’s motto “non nobis solum” which refers to “not to ourselves alone,” are we born. The values reflected there of selfless service and meaningful purpose have been lived out in Methodist milieus for hundreds of years.
As members of a United Methodist church, we are part of connectional ecosystem of other Methodist churches, ministries, colleges and endeavors. This Sunday, we have the opportunity to celebrate with another member of that ecosystem, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, as they mark 100 years of service and purpose. Senior Pastor Anthony Jenkins will lead worship and give the message through YouTube. We’ll watch together in the Fellowship Hall at Epworth or you can join online at home. To celebrate and honor Taylor, Epworth has placed a congratulatory ad in Taylor’s commemoration book. I’ve sent a letter to Pastor Jenkins and the congregation on behalf of Epworth and you can read that here.
After worship, please plan to enjoy coffee and conversation, followed by Holy Conversations on Race, Racism and Racial Justice. Remember that you can join in person or on Zoom. This week’s forum is “Listening to the Voices of Persons of Color, part 2.” Thank you to Mikko Jokela for facilitating this week’s panel as we continue this important work.
I also want to lift up another part of our local Methodist ecosystem, and that is the former Trinity UMC site. Several Epworthians recently attended a meeting led by District Superintendent Staci Current during which she shared about the completion of the first phase of discernment for the future of the Trinity site. A connectional development team including myself and Dianne Rush Woods extensively researched options with consulting group DCG Strategies and concluded the best way forward was to retain and develop the property but sell the “air rights” to a third party that would develop consistent with Methodist values. You can find the full text of the recommendation here.
Thanks to Dianne for her service over the last year and a half. We will continue to keep you informed as things develop.
Another dimension of our Methodist ecosystem is our annual conference, which gathers once a year for Annual Conference Session. This gathering will take place in Sacramento next week. I will be there along with lay representatives Merrie Bunt and Lloyd Elliot. All California-Nevada retired clergy, as well as Dr. Jeffrey Kuan serving in extension ministry as President of Claremont School of Theology, and Randall Miller as a member of our General and Jurisdictional conference delegation, will be there as well. You can watch the proceedings via livestream on the conference website. The presentation I’ll be doing as chair of the Council on Finance and Administration will come on Friday morning around 9:15. Thank you to Rev. Dr. David Vazquez-Levy for preaching and Michael Martin for leading worship next week while I am at annual conference.
May each of you experience the blessing and grace of God in each moment. May holy friends support and accompany you. And may you know that you are loved, and love unconditionally.