Stretch out your hand to reach the world

6/11/2018

A message from Bishop Bryan:

This year’s annual conference session truly found us Alive Together in Worship. In addition to our regular worship services - opening, memorial, ordination, and sending forth - we also experienced morning prayer, noon prayer, and compline (end of the day prayer). The entire annual conference was punctuated with vibrant worship and meaningful connection. Many have reported that they returned home feeling comforted and strengthened as a result of a clear emphasis on being Alive Together in Worship.
 
I want to thank our lay and clergy delegates for setting aside this time for holy conferencing. I realize it is time away from home and family, and I am deeply grateful for the tremendous commitment to Christ that this demonstrates. Thanks to our outstanding laity for their faithful service all year long. As I said in the ordination sermon, our laity have a powerful role to play in Jesus’ ministry of healing, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, and casting out demons.
 
And thanks to our clergy for caring for those whom Christ has entrusted to our care. The worship attendance increases and outreach ministries we celebrated at annual conference reflect the faithful leadership of our clergy.  

Let us remember in our prayers those who are moving and the congregations who are receiving new pastors. We also pray for those who are continuing in their current appointments.  

May this conference year find us all living into our theme, Alive Together in the World. The communities of South Georgia need the faith, hope, and love that our churches can provide. This is a great time to be a United Methodist Christian - Alive Together in the World.
 
At the request of several of our laity and clergy, I am happy to share the text for the sermon I preached during the opening worship service of the South Georgia Annual Conference on June 3. I am particularly grateful for the response because, frankly, I struggled with this scripture passage for a long time before it came alive for me. In other words, this Bible story stretched me!   

Please let me know how it stretches you and especially let me know how you and your congregation will respond to Jesus’ command: “Stretch out your hand!”
 
I hope you will preach this story in your own way. I hope you will use this sermon in Sunday school and in small groups of all kinds. Here are some questions to ask and discuss:
 
What is this sermon saying?
What does it mean?
What difference would it make if I took it seriously?
 
Now, read the sermon and STRETCH.

Alive Together in Christ,

Lawson Bryan