Through tears, Mitchell Harper shared words of gratitude for the opportunity to attend the 54th session of the West Ohio Annual Conference in person after participating virtually for three years.

The annual conference lay leader reflected on how the theme “Committed, Connected, Community” is visible throughout the Scriptures. Offering the story of Ruth as an example, he said, “She was a woman who made a commitment to be in covenant rather than get caught up in her own conservation, and she was committed to reman connected to her community.”

Focusing on “Committed, Connected, Community,” Harper added, “I am not sure you can have one without the other. Community implies some level of commitment. Where there is commitment, there is connection.”

Noting that some members of our communities continue to live in isolation and remain disconnected, Harper invited the church to create communities intentionally. “Let’s worship, pray and sing together, yes,” he said. “But let us eat together; laugh and cry together; serve, teach and grow together. Don’t feed the hungry. Eat with the hungry. If we, the local church, can’t be vulnerable and transparent, we can’t be trusted members of our communities.

“Let us be the exemplar of the image of God to our communities as Naomi was to Ruth,” Harper concluded. “Let us be connected and inseparable to Christ in the way Ruth was inseparable to Naomi.”

To listen to the full laity address, click here.

Written by Amy Graham, Communications Specialist