It seems that this Thanksgiving Season has been co-opted because of the ongoing concern for our safety as we continue to navigate the growing concerns related to COVID-19.
It is typically during this time of year our minds begin shifting to focus on the collective calendar celebration of Thanksgiving and leaning into the Season of Advent. Now, I will continue to ensure that our congregations, clergy, and laity are safe as we are reimagining what is means to BE THE CHURCH outside of buildings. However, I can not allow this time to pass without expressing my deepest gratitude…for these are a few of the things I am THANKFUL FOR:
- I am THANKFUL for the ways our congregations are sharing the Love of Jesus Christ through different expressions of worship; and for those who are hearing the Good News for the first time, in new ways, and remain engaged.
- I am THANKFUL for clergy and congregational leaders who continue to lead despite needing the pivot, overdue for rest, and even extending themselves in new learning to ensure the mission of Christ remains in the forefront.
- I am THANKFUL for the congregations, who model what is means to be a Connectional Church by continuing to support our Conference and District Tithe, because without this investment we would not be able to adequately support and resource as a District and Annual Conference.
- I am THANKFUL for the many who are responding to God’s call, as many discern how best to live out the membership vows of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
- I am THANKFUL for the ways we continually keep in the forefront our mandate to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” And while that is looking differently these days, I rejoice in knowing that disciple-making is happening!
And finally, as Psalm 9:1 suggests, “I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will talk about all your wonderful acts.” I am THANKFUL to our God, who loves us dearly, deeply, and unconditionally. I give great THANKS to Jesus the Christ, who indeed is our Savior, Redeemer, and Liberator. I give great THANKS for God’s abiding Spirit, who comforts, challenges, stretches, and encourages us each day along this journey of faith.
While we may continue to face unknowns, may we never forget the HOPE for which keeps us grounded. May we always embody an attitude of gratitude, as it can become contagious…and we need more LOVE spread throughout this world.
With a Grateful Heart…
Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving Central and West District