ST. LOUIS, MO—A stained glass window with the likeness of communion wine and bread sat center stage during today’s General Conference session, reminding all of that which should remain a focus in our faith and throughout the session: Jesus.

Today’s Day of Prayer and Preparation at The Dome at America’s Center brought with it moments of somber reflection, lively worship, and fervent invocation. 864 delegates, made up of both clergy and lay members, came together as we embarked on this monumental Special-Called General Conference for our United Methodist Church.

Bishops from around the world led dedicated times of prayer for Europe and Eurasia, Africa, the United States, and the Philippines, during which the worship band invited periods of loud praise and quiet moments of contemplation with their melodies. Familiar hymns like “How Great Thou Art” and praise songs like “You are My Strength” were sung in multiple languages.

“The witness of the church from around the world was life-giving,” said Indiana Delegate Cindy Reynolds. “It reminded me of our Connection and how together we are reaching out, touching and transforming the lives of people… The time of prayer has set a foundation for the work that is ahead. The words of forgiveness in the passing of the peace were very meaningful.”

Indiana’s 16 delegates huddled together to pray in small groups, some of their hands on one another gently offering solidarity. “Prayer is always time well spent. God is at work through our witness. We experienced a glimpse of what a global church looks like in prayer and praise today,” said Indiana Bishop Julius Trimble.

Seven experiential prayer stations were available on the floor for delegates, bishops, and conference leaders to partake throughout the day.

The day concluded with Holy Communion, during which bishops offered prayer and anointing.

Photos below: Members of the Indiana delegation during the Day of Prayer and Preparation.