June 20, 2015
Guest preacher Bishop Gregory Palmer of the Ohio West Area led morning Bible study and talked about the AC15 theme of witness and service. “A witness for Jesus Christ, and authentic Christian witness points beyond him or herself to another truth or reality that has saving power,” he said.
Speaking of the woman at the well, the bishop said “whatever happened that sent her back to witness, preach, evangelize … she was able to speak about her relationship with God in a way that forced them to move from where they were to encounter Jesus for themselves.”
He went on to say that the apostles also faced the issues of trying to be authentic witnesses to those of other faiths and of no faith. “There’s nothing new under the sun,” Bishop Palmer said. The scripture and history of the Church provide resources to witness to the un-churched or de-churched “but if we are pointing to ourselves and not to something beyond ourselves, our witness will be weak and go unheard.”
Bishop Palmer also preached at the morning worship: on Luke 24:45-53, the Road to Emmaus. Click the link to hear an excerpt from his sermon.
The photos below from morning worship symbolize the intact circle, the broken circle and the circle reunited and joyous in the Holy Spirit.
Metro Boston Hope District Superintendent LaTrelle Miller Easterling offered the following prayer:
What of the Resurrection if the hungry remain without bread?
What of the Resurrection if the prisons of oppression yet overflow?
What of the Resurrection if the voiceless still cry out for justice against a cacophony of powerful victimization?
What of the Resurrection if wars continue to ravage cities and souls without care of the cost?
What of the Resurrection if the blood of the innocent still runs warm down hot streets?
What of the Resurrection if the homeless cannot find shelter even under the archway of a sanctuary?
What of the Resurrection if the saved simply continue to color within the lines drawn by the hands of the privileged and powerful?
What of the Resurrection if the empty tomb and stone simply become tourist destinations?
He got up with all power.
Christ got up with all power.
He got up with all power.
That power has been imparted to us.
What has changed? Amen!
The morning plenary session was dominated by debate over the Camp and Retreat Ministry Strategic Planning Team’s recommendation to close
Covenant Hills Christian Camp in Cabot, VT. Members first voted to remove the closure from the overall report, and approved the rest of the report. The body voted to table the closure for a year, which would have ended all discussion, but with a motion to suspend the rules, agreed to reconsider the closure, which was ultimately approved by 77 percent majority. Members approved the resolution to forgive the Camp and Retreat centers’ pre-2015 deficits as well as an amended version of the Legacy Fund Resolution that added the text “with preference to the areas of the Conference that have been served by the site sold (within 2 years)” added to the text of the resolution regarding the distribution of the net proceeds from the sale of any camp property.
Board of Trustees recommendations: In the afternoon plenary, members approved the sale of the vacant episcopal residence and of the Conference Center building. The Trustees’ propose finding a new space within a 25-mile radius of Lawrence, MA, where the conference offices are now located.
Laity: Ralph Oduor and Rene Wilbur were elected as General Conference delegates. Steve Dry, Oscar W. Harrell and Rebecca Hewett were elected as delegates to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference.
Clergy: William (Scott) Campbell and LaTrelle Easterling were elected as General Conference delegates.
Stewardship Task Force: Members approved the report and recommendations of the task force, which includes the creation of district teams, an annual stewardship resource gathering and more intentional networking among churches on the issues of stewardship.
Bishop Devadhar introduced Bishop James Hazelwood of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Sanctuary in Marshfield, MA, is the first church in the nation that is both United Methodist and ELCA. Sanctuary is in the Metro Boston Hope District, and District Superintendent LaTrelle Easterling said, “To God be the glory, and thanks to both of our bishops who trusted us enough to do this.”
Bishop Devadhar said he hopes to see more churches like this one. Watch the website for a story on this ministry.
Memorial Service: Members gathered in worship to honor and remember clergy and spouses who died in the past year, including Bishop Martin McLee. See photos on our Facebook page. See a list of all those remembered.
Rev. Leigh Goodrich, pastor of the Lexington UMC in Massachusetts, is this year’s Ziegler Preaching Award honoree and gave the Memorial Service sermon on Mark 16: 1-7 (8).
“This afternoon we come together to celebrate people whose lives have touched us … They have made us smile; they have made us tear up. They have comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. We have loved them and now we miss them,” she said.
Goodrich quoted the poem “Summer” by Mary Oliver: “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Pointing to the last verse, “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid,” Goodrich said: And there is good reason. Doing what Jesus asks is not easy. … We have seen the promise of the Christ in those we memorialize today, and whose legacy we are called to build on tomorrow. We simply are asked to follow and trust. To put aside our fear and embrace what Christ told us …” she said, just as those we are remembering have done before us.
Discontinued churches: The Memorial Service was also a time to honor the six churches that are being discontinued this year. Click the link to see a photo.
Hannah Tenney Memorial in Salem, NH
Byfield Community UMC in Massachusetts
Newfield UMC in Maine
Trinity UMC in Taunton, MA
Holland UMC in Vermont
Lake Shore Park UMC in Lynn, MA
Read Tri-State District Superintendent James McPhee's celebration of The Vine, a ministry which closed in 2014.
Service of Ordination and Commissioning:
Bishop Palmer preached at the service, which took place on Friday, June 19. He told the ordinands and commissionees that if they ever forgot
their baptism, they would be "dead on the inside."
Hear an excerpt
The New England Conference ordained two elders and commissioned 10 as elders and one person as a deacon, and recognized the orders of JongWook Hong, an elder in another denomination. See photos on our Facebook page.
Janet Elmas Deranian
Jeffrey Luis Hooker
Annie Jeanne MacNeal Baker-Streevy
Wanda M. Santos-Pérez
Lourey Middlecamp Savik
Hannah Katrina Rogers
Lee-Ellen Ruth Relyea Strawn
Hyosuk Sue Yun