By Michelle Foster
Recently we celebrated my youngest son’s fifth birthday. As we worked to make preparations for his birthday party, one of the questions that I posed to him was “Who do you want to invite?” Without hesitating a moment he responded, “my whole class”.
I quickly became a bit overwhelmed at the thought of 15-20 5-year olds running around hyped up on the sugar from Kool-aid and cake. Upon further discussion and bit of probing about Pearson’s quick decision to include everyone, I felt there was something significant to be learned about a 5-year old’s eagerness to include everyone in the invitation to come and be a part of a life celebration.
Our 2008 Annual Conference began the formation of a new structure in our conference life that encourages everyone to hear and respond to God’s call to serve and lead as the spirit directs. Invitations are being extended to clergy and laity alike to use their God given gifts and respond to the passion of Christ’s call in their life through the already established ministries of local churches, district and conference ministries and through the creation of new and emerging ministries that address the needs of United Methodist people across our conference.
Here are two such invitations that I send to you:
• Come and be a part of the developing Conference Marriage Ministry Steering Team. This team will gather on Sat 10:30 a.m. Aug. 9 at the conference office in Jackson. Carol and Horace Lukens, our steering team facilitators, will share about the importance of marriage ministry and the potential beginning steps of establishing a vibrant and healthy marriage ministry in our conference.
• “Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century” is a seminar designed for pastors and church leaders interested in senior-adult ministry. The featured speaker will be Dr. Rochard Gentzler, director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church. You are invited to be a part of this seminar at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 6 at St. Matthew’s UMC in Madison. The cost is $15 which includes lunch. or more information or to register, contact Nora Roberts at 601-856-9581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foster serves on the Connectional Ministries staff working with children and family ministries.