The Mission is Yet Alive
“I am honored to be your bishop and continue to praise God for what God is accomplishing through our shared ministry … the ministry of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Bishop Tracy S. Malone stated during her Episcopal Address. “The mission is our grace-filled response to the reign of God in the world announced by Jesus.”
Malone reminded the faithful in Hoover Auditorium that the mission is our why.
“Friends, keeping an eye on our why gives greater understanding, clarity and direction to ‘what we do’ and ‘how we do it’ in the local church, in the Conference and throughout the connection,” she said.
In remarking that 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of The United Methodist Church, Malone noted the similarities between the issues facing the country in 1968 and those of today. She said that church leaders then were bold and faithful in their decision making.
She asked if we might be just as bold and courageous as we try to “find a way forward to strengthen and maintain the unity of the church.”
Malone reminded the body about the creation of the Commission on a Way Forward, outlined its work, and spoke of the engaged conversations that more than 700 clergy and lay took part in across the East Ohio Conference last fall and this spring.
“After prayerful and deliberate consideration of all the work of the Commission, the Council of Bishops recommends to the Church the One Church Plan,” Malone said. “We believe it best fulfills the vision of a global and multicultural church, allows for contextual differentiation, and creates and strengthens as much unity as possible.”
The EOC delegation will hold listening sessions this fall after the final One Church Plan legislative proposal has been translated into the official languages of the General Conference and is released no later than July 8.
In her 2017 Episcopal Address, Malone challenged and encouraged churches to be bold and courageous in their ministry, and to tell their story. This year, she shared many ways that the mission is still alive in the East Ohio Conference.
The mission is alive through seven churches partnering to build relationships and to share the love of Jesus with the homeless. It’s alive through a church using a ministry grant and working with the school district to start a monthly support group for grandparents who are raising grandchildren, and it’s alive through a United Methodist Church hosting a joint worship service with the Nepali-speaking Bhutanese Christian congregation of Refugee International Fellowship – just to name a few.
The bishop said that the mission is yet alive in the development of resources for equipping clergy and lay before revisiting the Rule of Christ and Critical Response initiatives that have been introduced in the past year.
“Healthy churches grow healthy disciples. Healthy disciples, disciple others. Disciples, transform the world,” she reminded those gathered.She closed her Episcopal Address by showing a video outlining the ministry vision of the East Ohio Conference.