Sisters and brothers in Christ, as noted in your Pre-Annual Conference mailing, this quadrennium we have been celebrating the movements of the liturgical year through our acts of worship. Our 2019 Annual Conference will be viewed through the lens of Lent and Easter. With the decisions of the Special Called Session of General Conference now before us, I can think of no better season on which to focus. I believe we are traveling through this wilderness season on our way to claiming and living once again as Easter people. The wilderness can be long and frustrating and oftentimes we don’t know where we are going or what the future might hold. However, as we journey through these new realities, please remember that we do so as an Easter people. We simply trust that God is with us, and that His grace will always be sufficient. It takes Holy Imagination forged in the very heart of the Creator to live into that grace, claiming God’s blessings while traveling through the wilderness.
As we turn our attention toward our 2019 Annual Conference, we do so with our hearts, minds, and souls focused on the Lenten journey with Jesus as He resolutely turned His face toward Jerusalem. In this new season of our life together as United Methodists, may we resolutely “turn (our) your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of this earth will look strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” –“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,”-- UM Hymnal 349. Let us do so with a renewed determination and a Holy Imagination to continue making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
“Holy Imagination” – born in the very heart of God who redeemed the world in the most creative, imaginative, and unexpected way – is what we will need if we are to come out on the other side of this journey in resurrection power. It seems as if Friday in our denominational life has lasted so long, but as has been said, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.”
It is my prayer that as we prepare to gather once again in Northern Kentucky for “Holy Conferencing” and the election of delegates for the 2020 General Conference, we will arrive bathed in all the joy, strength, peace, and love that flows from the Imagination of God’s heart a Holy Imagination that always “Sees the Possibilities, and lives the promises.” I look forward to seeing each of you in Northern Kentucky. Blessings and peace to each of you.
Leonard E. Fairley