When I was around four years old, I had this large coloring book, which I’m sure my mother gave me to keep me out of her hair for a few moments. It was full of pages called “connect the dots”. I think it was a great way to get pre-school kids to master their number counting. The dots on the page each had a different number that, once connected by my crayon, revealed a clever drawing I could not have recognized when I started. I had to connect all the dots in order the see the whole picture.
We United Methodists refer to ourselves as a “connectional church”, which means that a fuller picture of mission & care come into focus when we work together. One huge expression of this is the once-a-year meeting that hundreds of UM churches across Michigan take part in, known as the Annual Conference. This term refers both to the way all the churches are connected as well as the 4-day annual meeting when we are “conference-ing together”. The gathering is being held here in Traverse City this year, for the first time ever. I’m wanting you to know about this so you might happen by the Grand Traverse Resort where over two thousand clergy & laity from around the state will be gathering over 4 days, June 1st to 4th. There will be powerful worship & singing each morning (http://2017.michiganumc.org/schedule/)
Also worth attending will be on Friday, June 2nd, 4pm to hear writer & consultant, Rev. Susan Beaumont as the lead teacher. She will inspire the audience to see all the good that God has ahead of us as the two halves of our state now join as one conference.
Central Church is involved in the conference, not only by our pastors and two lay members attending all the sessions, but also by sending greeters out for one of the days to welcome & direct attendees. We’re most excited that our church will be hosting a Jazz Vespers service in our Sanctuary on Friday, June 2nd at 7pm. Come support Jeff Cobb and the Well Band as we welcome United Methodists from around the state.
Our mission involvement comes from our UM connection. All the pastors who have ever served Central Church come from our UM connection. Even if you’ve never been curious about the larger church we support and benefit from in many behind-the-scene ways, I hope you will come out. Come to the Annual Conference gatherings June 1st -4th for the morning, or part of a day, as a guest. All sessions are open. Most events will occur in the Governors Ballroom in the bottom level of the resort. You might be surprised. You might just be inspired when you connect the dots, seeing a larger picture of the Body of Christ we all participate in.
Part of something big,
PS – I would welcome any comments or thoughts on how you feel connected, or not, to the larger UM Church that Central belongs to.