And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
In the book of Acts, Luke speaks of the Holy Spirit descending as tongues of flame and allowing the disciples of Christ to speak fluently in the languages of those around them -- allowing them to share the story and message of Jesus Christ. This is traditionally considered to be the start of the Christian church. It is a story of God’s love for God’s people, the empowerment of believers and the connection created by Christ -- even with those from different lands.
One of the ways that the United Methodist Church continues to work together as we seek to be part of Christ’s body is through Annual Conferences. The term “Annual Conference” refers both to an administrative division of the larger church (we are part of the MIssouri Annual Conference which, as the name implies, includes all of the state) and also to the yearly meetings that are held for the continued renewal of the connections between the local churches that make up the Conference. This June, clergy and laity (non-clergy) representatives from Keystone and Revolution will gather with those from local churches throughout Missouri for a long weekend of workshops, worship, conferencing, planning and prayer. During the times of worship, special offerings will be taken from worshipers and the churches they represent for three specific ministries of the Missouri Conference.
First, an offering will be taken for the Mozambique Initiative -- the Conference’s long-term relationship with the church in Mozambique. This year the Conference is intentionally focusing on sustainability as expressed through the provision of microloans for entrepreneurs in the country. Second, an offering will be taken for the new Pathways of Poverty initiative which seeks to link church resources with Missouri schools and make long-term changes by raising the literacy rate.
Finally, an offering will be taken to help rebuild the health clinic on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico as the island pursues recovery from Hurricane Maria. This is the same project on which a team from Keystone and Revolution will be working through our Puerto Rico Mission Trip which will occur between August 4 and 11. There will be a separate email coming out about that trip, and I hope you will be in prayer and discernment as to whether you are being called to join us in service.
If you would like to contribute to any of these three offerings, please mark your envelope or check with “Mozambique,” “Literacy” or “Mo Conf. Puerto Rico,” and we will join your contributions to offerings from throughout the state at the Annual Conference in June.
Thank you for your continued generosity and desire to be Christ’s servants in the world.