By: Christa Meland
General Conference—the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church—will convene in just four months, and all annual conferences have been invited to participate in a day of prayer in advance of the event.
General Conference meets once every four years. The next meeting will take place this year, from May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. Four delegates from Minnesota will join other United Methodists from around the world in making decisions that impact the future of the church.
The Council of Bishops has invited each annual conference to host a 24-hour prayer vigil on a specific date, with the intent of creating a groundswell of prayer in the days leading up to the General Conference.
Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough selected the date of March 23 for the Minnesota Conference’s participation.
“This is during Holy Week, a most appropriate time for us to engage in praying for Christ’s resurrection power and presence to break forth at General Conference,” he said.
Churches, groups, and/or individuals are invited to sign up for a 15-minute period on that date when they commit to praying for God to guide delegates and church leaders as they prepare to discern how God is calling us to move forward as a denomination.
“I hope the people of Minnesota will participate in this effort and join me in praying for God to renew The United Methodist Church and unite us in our mission to reach and make new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world,” said Bishop Ough.
“Let us come together to ask God to grant delegates:
• courage to conference with integrity,
• wisdom to discern God’s vision for our future, and
• desires shaped by love for God and one another.”
One hundred thirty-one annual conferences throughout the world are participating in this prayer effort and have committed to a day of prayer. The prayer effort commenced on Dec. 31 and will continue through May 9, the day prior to the start of General Conference.
Bishop Ough has written a prayer that he invites all Minnesota United Methodists to use—during their assigned prayer time and throughout the days and month leading up to General Conference:
“Almighty and gracious God, as we prepare for General Conference in Portland, have mercy on your church, troubled and divided. Pour out your heavenly blessings; redeem, restore and remold your church until we are made new, that we may be one in Christ for the sake of the world. Instill within delegates humble hearts and discerning minds that hunger and thirst for your righteousness and justice, and your vision for our future. Through the decisions and spirit of General Conference, renew in the whole church a passionate longing for the coming of your kingdom, and unite us in one mission: to reach and make new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. Amen.”
There are several resources to encourage your congregation to participate in this effort:Wallet-sized prayer card (single) / Wallet-sized prayer card (4 on sheet)
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church