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From our delegates… Seeing God at GC

May 2, 2012

Dan Dick – I have experienced God in the people and talking to delegates about what is happening around the globe to save lives, bring people into faithful fellowship, and the ways that Christian love and compassion is shared.  My heart breaks for those places where love is withheld and where the grace of Christ is not extended.  When we deal with real flesh and blood people, we are very kind and loving.  When we deal with people as categories for legislative action, we are much less kind.  But God is obviously present and at work in the brothers and sisters gathered to make decisions on behalf of The United Methodist Church.

Gail Burgess – As a volunteer/observer, I have experienced God during the worship experiences, in the music provided during the lunch hour on the mezzinine — with choruses from around the world– and in the people volunteering alongside me who truly understand hospitality.

John Lawson – I have experienced God in conversations with old friends, hearing what God is doing in their lives and their churches. In particular, Bob Walters, who was on Conference staff in South Indiana when I was Council on Ministries vice chair. Bob is now Director of Connectional Ministries in the North Katanga Conference in Africa. And I thought I had moved a long way from Indiana… I have experienced God in meeting new friends and hearing their stories. I have experienced God in a variety of worship settings. And in seeing and hearing about a wide variety of exciting ministries around the world.

Judy Vasby – God has been present in the worship. Not only has the preaching been stirring and the music soul reaching, but the video displays on the three screens behind the speakers have been so appropriate to the worship topics that comprehension has been enhanced, revealing new insights. For instance, today’s theme was “embark” and the screens showed ships and rolling seas and then calm, to follow the scripture about Jesus calming the sea (Mark 4:35-41). Our speaker, Bishop David Kekumba Yemba from Central Congo, reminded us that, while the storms were raging around the disciples and they were busy being afraid, Jesus was in the boat with them. He said that followers of Jesus should love Jesus more than new structure. Their focus should be on creating more believers, on transforming people. We cry, “Master, we are losing members!” And He replies, “Don’t you have faith?” We are occupied with structure, lack of finances, ethical dilemmas. Yemba said that the wind and waves of the scripture represent the chaotic influences of evil in our lives, then and now. But Jesus is in charge. He has authority over wind and rain. He is the captain of our boat. The presence of chaos and disorder is a sign of lack of authentic faith, but where Jesus is present, there is authentic peace. We do not need to be afraid. Rather, we need to embark – to move forward with Jesus in our boat, remembering that He did the hard thing and set off into the wind….

Sam Royappa – I see and praise God for the ocean of gifts to His Church called The UMC – both local and global people sharing and conversing together inside and outside the bar.

I am amazed to see how hundreds of staff working together both manually and technologically.

I also see political values and Kingdom values at their peaks as global faith community tries to claim their identity whether they are called to be delegates or disciples. As delegates they are law makers and as disciples of Christ, they are called to experience and express grace.

I do appreciate one thing (in the midst of a tension between secular and sacred), that every conversation is all about “CHURCH” that Christ founded with his promise: “I will build my church.”  Thanks be to God for new friends!  God is good all the time.

Steve Zekoff – I have experienced God through connections with people I’ve known over the years. I find myself agreeing with some who come at God’s work with different theological convictions than I hold, yet we find ourselves working with each other on issues key to the future of the church. I’ve also had reunions with long-time friends who are not in agreement with me on some of the proposed responses to those same issues, yet we remain glad to be able to see each other at General Conference. I am grateful that the Spirit’s presence is evident during General Conference.

Amanda Stein – I’ve been experiencing God in the beauty & diversity of the people gathered here. There is a warmth between individuals & among small groups of people. The Spirit is here– and– as the week goes on, I suspect we’ll need to listen & look more intently to find that Spirit– including in this moment, as on the floor right now, we are discussing whether or not we can acknowledge significant differences of faithful Christians.




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