By Izzie Zimmerman, Tupelo District, Director of Communications
Photo right: Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton, associate general secretary of Leadership Ministries, spoke to laity and clergy about baptism and confirmation.
On Saturday, Feb. 7 about 60 folks from all over the Tupelo District gathered at St. Mark UMC for the annual Tupelo District Laity Conference. Bobby Thomas, Tupelo District Lay Leader, kicked off the event followed by an invocation from the host pastor, Rev. Don McCain. The Tupelo District superintendent, Rev. Dr. Jimmy Barnes, introduced the speakers, Rev. Dr. Larry Hilliard (Mississippi Conference director of spiritual leadership) and Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton (associate general secretary for Leadership Ministries with the General Board of Discipleship).
Rev. Dr. Hilliard shared from Matthew 25:14-30 that the church has been called to be faithful rather than successful. With that in mind, he concluded his message with this thought:
At the end of your life, do you want to hear from the Lord, "Well, you didn't do anything bad, but you didn't really do anything good either" or do you want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant?"
Rev. Pierce Norton began her first session with a quiz on "What We Know" concerning United Methodist beliefs, the sacraments, and history. She continued with a short lecture on baptism in The United Methodist Church. Following lunch, Rev. Pierce Norton concluded the conference with a session on confirmation, discipling adults, the vows we take, and creating a path of discipleship within the church.
The conference concluded with the sharing of the Lord's Supper and the challenge to go out and share the things learned on that day. There was already a buzz from those attending who were excited for next year's gathering and a hope to see even more people experience this opportunity of great teaching. The next big gathering for the Tupelo District will be Thursday, April 16 at 6 p.m. for the District Lay Rally with guest speaker Rev. Steve Casteel, pastor of First UMC in Clinton. Those interested in purchasing a $15 ticket should contact the Tupelo District office.