Well, we have made it through the year 2020 and we are days into the new year of 2021 (cue the confetti, dancing, and festive music)! While there were many challenges we endured and overcame in 2020, there are also significant celebrations that occurred which should not be overlooked. I believe one major learning from 2020 was the imperative to reimagine what it means to The Church; as the global pandemic presented many missional possibilities and that reimagining process remains before us.

When I think about the upcoming 360+ days, I am reminded of the image pictured above. I fell in love with this painting back in 2018. The artist, Mr. Ron Wilson, is a worship leader at Center Chapel United Methodist Church, and he shared with me his inspiration for the painting as a picturesque description of the Holy Bible—from Genesis to Revelation. When looking at the painting, one can see the different stories brought to life, and for others they see a vibrant and colorful picture. Both interpretations are not wrong, it simply depends on how you view what is presented.

I believe this is what we are facing right now as the people called Christ’s disciples. There is a landscape of possibilities in our families and communities that hunger for something more than the current realities. We have the invitation to be the LIVING WORD of God in a world desperately needing Shalom. So, will we be open to the many adaptations that are required for this in this Kairos time, or we will continue to be numbed by our wanting time to revert to what is most comfortable for us?

Friends, as the calendar has shifted, the invitation to rediscover, recreate, and redevelop are ever before us, as we navigate the new and changing landscape of life and the life of ministry, and not continue to hold an unfair expectation that we will go back to “normal”.  In this new year of 2021, I am extending an invitation for us to live out our commitment to faithfully participate in the life and ministries of our local congregations through our Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness. I am inviting us to willingly show and share Jesus Christ in our communities, by our words and our deeds? And I am inviting us to pray boldly, “God who are you calling me to BE for you in this new year?”

The invitation is before us…. will you accept?

Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving Central and West Districts