Dear Ones in Christ:
Grace to you and Peace in the name and spirit of the Risen Christ:
The pace of activity is quickening, especially as it relates to Annual Conference. In fact, on April 24 the Annual Conference Memorial Service was held at Grace Church, Dayton. It was both live streamed and recorded. I hope you will find a way, if you have not already, to avail yourself of the opportunity to join in remembering and giving thanks for the lay and clergy persons lives we celebrated and continue to celebrate.
The next opportunity to worship together as the West Ohio Annual Conference will be on May 10 at 4:00 PM for the Service of Commissioning and Ordination. The service will be held at the Stonybrook Church in Gahanna and will be streamed live. 24 persons will come into a new relationship with the Annual Conference. Additionally, I will ordain one person as a courtesy to another bishop and Annual Conference. Please join us for this unrepeatable moment in the life of the church.
This week I join episcopal colleagues for several hours each day (Monday-Friday) for a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church. We will worship, spend time in covenant groups, receive and act upon a number of reports. We will also get updates on the state of the church and prepare for Annual Conferences. The work of UMCOR in Ukraine will be shared with a shoutout to the generous contributions of OhioHealth, our ministry partner. OhioHealth not only serves people in Central Ohio but their reach is global. Thanks be to God.
During the COB meeting, we will continue our work and conversations about our responsibility to lead the church and the world in the dismantling of racism in all of its expressions. As we pursue this, we have been invited to know and understand our history as a church better. One of the impediments to change is being ahistorical. In a climate, particularly in the United States, where vitriolic voices are trying to legislate the censoring of history in an effort to avoid people “feeling bad”, we must as church carve a different path. Parts of our personal, communal and ecclesial stories may indeed include facts and truth that sting. But rather than run from the pain as a means of work avoidance, let’s choose to learn both from our most noble choices and actions as well as from those when we have utterly flunked. In holding all of our truth with care we can forge a vibrant, healthy future. There can be no future without racism absent a courageous acknowledgement that race and racism have been defining in human history, in the history of the United States and The United Methodist Church. Facing our stinging truth sets the stage for a reconciled future.
We are an Easter people. We believe in resurrection. God intends through the Risen Christ that there be an Easter for every Good Friday in our personal and communal life. I look forward to continuing to partner with you and every congregation in West Ohio in the ministry of resurrection wherever we see and experience death. I am,
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
+Gregory V. Palmer