e-letter 6/07/19

Summer is upon us, and that gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past school year! As a part of my own reflection, I realized that we haven’t had much further conversation about what’s been happening in the United Methodist Church at large. That is because, well… there hasn’t been much to report. Groups continue to organize, discuss, lament, and celebrate together on their own, and anxiously have been waiting for Annual Conferences and General Conference 2020. Any news outside of both of these gatherings has not spoken for the whole of the denomination or even our conference. Your pastors are keeping up and are, of course, willing to answer any of your questions, but there isn’t much “new news.”
 

 

In that way, this week, Pastor Annette, Pastor Augie, and I are all in Lakeland for Florida’s Annual Conference meeting. This happens yearly in the first week of June and is when our conference of Florida Methodists gets together, works on some business of our connection, and celebrates retirements, ordinations, and changes in appointment. As the connection of the Annual Conference is the basic body of the United Methodist Church, this is “the room where it happens,” especially for our Florida connection. (Cue Hamilton soundtrack!) This year, we have more to think and vote about in the wake of General Conference 2019 and preparing for General Conference 2020.
 

 

With all of that in mind, of course there was a sense of anxiety among some of our colleagues as we headed into Annual Conference. What is the state of the church? What would it be like, after the decision of the Special Called General Conference? Would we be able to sit in the same room together, eat meals together, be for each other in mission? Our Conference planning team and our Bishop said pre-emptively, yes! We will. And the theme for this year has been “On Mission Together,” celebrating the innovative ways we join together in Florida and across the globe as United Methodists. It has been such joy to be a part of those celebrations alongside hard, good, and important conversations in our connection.
 

 

It is also appropriate because this weekend in worship we celebrate Pentecost. This is often referred to as the birthday of the church, because this is when the disciples received the Holy Spirit and began to preach the Gospel to many people who spoke many different languages. This was a shock to them, but no shock to God, as in Jesus, God promised to send this very Spirit! And we, too, are recipients of this grace-filled Spirit of God, urging us on in our own mission and our own connections to our wor
 

 

When we think about the Spirit in our work here at Suntree, we also think about how God has continued to move us forward in our 4D Vision as a church. The way we see it, the state of our church is beautiful, Spirit-filled, and growing! We will celebrate that in worship this week. We can think about our youth students on mission this week, our children’s MADD Camp, VBS, and programming throughout the year, our efforts to have conversation around mental health in our community, our Faith Based Partner of the Year award from Brevard County Schools, and all of our continued ministry that only grows and flourishes through the Holy Spirit. While we celebrate the church’s birthday, we’ll also remind ourselves of how much we have accomplished here at Suntree and how much more God promises us in Pentecost.
 

 

Even alongside great anxiety in our world and denomination, you are markers to me of the Spirit’s continued work. You help me know that there is hope for our church — because you are examples of being on mission together, being in conversation together, and living out the fruits of the Spirit together. I am so grateful to be your pastor and to celebrate your hard work this weekend!
 
 
 
See you Sunday,

Pastor Allee