Working together in God's light


By Bishop Hope Morgan Ward

In September and October, I look forward to leading with Steve Casteel clergy gatherings in 11 district settings. Each district gathering will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. The time will be spent interactively, speaking and listening to one another as we discern ways to be stronger leaders in the church of Jesus Christ.

Parker Palmer, through his writings, has been a significant teacher in my life. Clergy will receive from the district superintendent the gift of a small booklet, an essay by Palmer, Leading from Within: Reflections on Spirituality and Leadership. I hope all will be blessed as they read the essay in prayerful preparation for the district gatherings.

Palmer writes, “A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his or her shadow, or his or her light. A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to create the conditions under which other people must live and move and have their being — conditions that can either be as illuminating as heaven or as shadowy as hell. A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him or her self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”

 In each district gathering, time will also be offered for the clergy to work in subgroups to apply these questions to our shared life in ministry:

• How might the ministry of The United Methodist Church in this district be illumined, configured, extended?

• How might we offer ourselves — individually gifted — to the expansive work of the United Methodist connection in Mississippi and beyond?

We will begin to meditate and work with the Biblical image of the potter, working in God’s light — our theme for the 2008 Annual Conference.

As we live in Christ, what are our next faithful steps? What is God shaping in and through us? I look forward to these times with the clergy of the Mississippi Conference.  

Fall District Days Schedule

• Brookhaven District — Sept. 11

• Meridian District — Sept. 12

West Jackson District — Sept. 13

Greenwood District — Sept. 27

• New Albany District — Oct. 9

• Tupelo District — Oct. 10

• Senatobia District — Oct. 11

Hattiesburg District — Oct. 23

• Seashore District — Oct. 24

• Starkville District — Oct. 30

East Jackson District — Oct. 31