I am often reminded of the words from John Wesley’s hymn: “And are we yet alive, and see each other’s face? Glory and thanks to Jesus give for his almighty grace!” What a joy it will be to see each other’s face, to rekindle old friendships, and to meet new brothers and sisters in Christ as one Body of Christ. What a privilege it will be to join in the commissioning and ordination of this year’s class in celebration of who we are and whose we are.
This year we will be coming together in the third year of our quadrennial theme, “Alive in Christ Together… Equipping Vital Congregations.” We come yearning for all of our congregations to be vital in ministry and in reaching out into our communities with God’s grace and hope.
Once again we have several individuals from our conference who will lead us. The Rev. Dr. Dennis Keller in his last year as the Harrisburg District Superintendent will be the preacher for the Memorial Service. The Rev. Jennifer Thomas, Pastor at Dover New Creation, will be the speaker for Ministry Night. The Rev. Arun S. Andrews, Pastor at Trinity Church, New Cumberland, will present the bible study. Pastor Janet Durrwachter, First Church, Williamsport, is organizing a presentation around our conference theme of “Equipping Vital Congregations.” I am especially pleased that Bishop Neil Irons has accepted my invitation to preach at the Ordination Service. One of the highlights of the Ordination Service will be the opportunity for presenting the offerings to Bishop’s Partners in Mission. I am excited by the additional missions and ministries to be made possible because of the generosity of our faithful people.
Each annual conference is unique and special. Yet this year we have the added privilege of electing delegates for the General and Jurisdictional conferences in 2016. Please be in fervent prayer that we might be led by the Spirit throughout the election process and each session.
I know that there is always a lot to accomplish in three days. The meetings can be long and contentious, and at times we might not easily discern where God wants us to go; but we rejoice in knowing that we worship a God who has faithfully led us to this point and will surely lead us in God’s future as we trust anew in God’s grace. As a fellow sojourner with you on this marvelous journey called faith, I look forward to greeting you at Messiah College.
With You In Christ’s Ministry,
— Bishop Jeremiah J. Park.