Well, here we are … our 2017 Charge Conferences are finalized, Isaiah 43:18-19 has been recited approximately 150 times, clergy compensation and lay leadership decisions have been made, 75+ lay servants have been approved, State of the Church reports and Pastors’ reports have been shared, and 1,331 new things have been noted and listed!!  Thank you Alexandria District clergy and laity!

Allow me a few final reflections on our Charge Conferences.  First, some of you asked if we could share some of the “new things” that are happening in our district churches.  I believe this is a wonderful idea; and as I stated in my last article, I’ll be compiling these initiatives by generic category and I hope to share these during the Lay Leader Roundtable discussions at Bi-District Training Day.  Second, on the last day of our Charge Conferences, a lady at Washington Street UMC asked a very simple, but appropriate question, “Why don’t we share our State of the Church report with everyone at church to include visitors?”  What a fabulous idea (and “new thing”) to share what is happening to further the kingdom versus burying the report in some sort of file folder (manila or electronic)!  And third, as I listened to many of your comments on what constitutes a ‘wilderness’ or a ‘desert’ in your local church community, I couldn’t help but wonder; “What if we were called to be a modern day prophet – what would we write?”

Many of you depicted the wilderness or desert as the divisiveness in our country, a general apathy amongst many people, an emptiness of spirit, and people suffering throughout the world.  Let me add some other things that have recently been in the news – shootings and active shooter training for churches, sexual misconduct at many levels, ongoing hurricane repairs, cyber attacks (real and perceived), overall world politics, and major gridlock on the American Legion bridge (not as a result of weather).  Think about it – what would be your prophetic message?  I would suggest the words of Isaiah 43:19 …

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.



John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader