2016 State of the Conference: Planting seeds of trust

June 22, 2016

At an Annual Conference with the theme “Planting Seeds of Trust,” Cabinet Dean the Rev. Dr. David Abbott called on members to recall New England’s history and the rugged, intrepid farmers who settled here in the 17th century.

“In other words, it took lots of hard work, determination, and the reality of failure all with the hope that something good could come from all the labor,” Rev. Abbott said. “Stating the obvious, the reality was that if the seeds weren’t planted, nothing would grow.  To restate the obvious, the hard work was done with the hope that something new could happen even though nothing was promised.” 

Speaking on Saturday morning, June 18, 2016, Rev. Abbot said this image of planting seeds of trust isn’t about denying or burying hurt, but rather about “holding out the belief that there was a new day coming, not a perfect day, not a promised day, but one that had the potential to change the world.”

Rev. Abbott cited examples of seeds being planted, including the work of the Vermont Task Force on Camping/Retreat and Outdoor Ministries in the wake of closing Covenant Hills, and Rev. Yoo-Yun Cho Chang’s vision for the Circle Process conversation that was held at Annual Conference for the first time this year.

He also told the story of the relationship forged between two congregations when Rev. Stan Cushing, pastor at the Plymouth UMC in Massachusetts presided at two church conferences at High Street UMC in Duxbury, MA.  During these meetings, a relationship developed, Rev. Abbott said, and “as a result of seeds of trust being planted through the process of elders presiding at church conferences, this year a new United Methodist congregation, South Shore Methodist Church, with two campuses is being created.”  

Rev. Abbott concluded by saying, “Whether you are fully on board, not really intrigued, waiting for this report to be over, or absolutely doubtful, all we ask is that we might all pray over the seeds of trust that have been planted and pray for new ones, including those being planted this week, to take root and produce abundantly for the glory of God.”

Read the full text of the State of the Conference message here