Dear Ones in Christ Jesus:
The 50th Session of the West Ohio Annual Conference is behind us. Thank you for five days of good, worshipful work. If you include the Clergy Session, it’s six days. Well done. We covered lots of territory as we immersed ourselves in Hope. Along the way, there were lots of “shout outs” of gratitude for all of the people who worked in front of and behind the scenes to make the session work. They are a remarkable mix of volunteers and staff. If any word of thanks that should have been made out loud was not, please forgive me.
The reflection, formal and informal, that should follow an event of this scale began before we left Lakeside and will continue. Attending to this part of the work helps us all to know how to serve throughout the year and to prepare for the next Annual Conference.
During the closing on Thursday, I shared with you the following words from Reinhold Niebuhr. They seem fitting to share here as we launch into another year of ministry as the West Ohio Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;
therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;
therefore we must be saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint.
Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”
I remain yours because of the Hope of the Gospel,
+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer