Rev. Paula Colton: Changing our story

May 13, 2016
Rev. Paula Colton served communion with Indiana Bishop Michael Coyner at opening worship on Tuesday.

By Rev. Paula Colton

I was given the opportunity to serve communion during opening worship. This was an awe-inspiring experience. I served with Bishop Coyner from Indiana. As we stood, offering the bread and cup to delegates from across the world, there was no polity, doctrine, legislation, or political divide between us sharing these gifts of Gods love. The gift of Holy Communion translates into all languages.

I believe the grace and love experienced in communion is possible in all aspects of our ministry across the connection.  

This is my third trip to General Conference and second time serving as a reserve delegate. As I soak up the mountains of wisdom around me, I realize there is so much yet to learn. I have always believed one should never stop learning, yet in the presence of so many excellent leaders, it's hard not to feel inferior, wondering why I haven't learned enough, read enough, or studied enough.

My heart aches because our legislative process leaves little room for understanding one another's stories. I have challenged myself to meet someone new each day and listen to their story. It is through these experiences that we are changed. When God warms our hearts through stories, we can see new possibilities. I am praying for God to break through our politics and speak through story. When we stand still and listen, we can hear God changing our story.

Rev. Paula Colton is an alternate clergy delegate to General Conference. She's a deacon who serves Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis.

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