Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Annual Conference (Part 3) I am not posting this on Tuesday, as I should be, but between getting to a 7 a.m. Communion Service (I know, shocked me too!) and staying out until close to midnight for Gridiron, I just didn't have time. (I am actually stealing a little time right now.)

Yesterday, we had several wonderful reports, one of the most moving was from the Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries (CJAMM). A young mother with three young daughters came and talked about being sentenced for ten years, and is currently serving her term. She talked about how her upbringing drove her to seek comfort in unhealthy places. She found God through people who reached out to her from prison ministries and she knew that she needed to make sure she got herself together for her daughters and herself. She spoke of how she had become addicted to Methamphetamines and how Meth was a powerful drug, but (in her words) "Meth is not more powerful than my God." Her children were with her, and her family was in the congregation. This was the first time she had seen her children in over 6 months she told us through tears.

The good news was that she was granted early parole and had been accepted into an Exodus house program. We were thrilled for her, and one laywoman commented that if she hadn't been paroled, she would have "gone to bat for her."

Of course, we had other wonderful reports and our church received an award called "It Worked for Us" on a lay ministry area. We are also receiving an award today for the Outstanding Rural church attendance 41-100. Other things discussed was the implementation of a Strategic Vision Plan, but I believe I need have a separate post for this, so I will wait to comment on this after conference is over.

Grace and peace, blessings and joy for our wonderful heritage and connectional ministry in the United Methodist Church!

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