A Word from DS Teresa Welborn – 5/16/19

In many ways we are living in “both/and” times. As we consider the future of the denomination there is a sense of waiting and wondering about what will be. And yet, in the midst of our waiting and wondering (and perhaps fretting and hopefully praying!), many transformative ministries continue to thrive. We live in the tension between what is and what will be. Perhaps this is always how it is with a life lived in faith but certainly the present moment seems fraught with great anxiety. 
The scriptures offer wonderful counsel when it comes to living in such times:
Perfect love casts out all fear. – I John 4:18
God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, 
and self-controlled. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  – Isaiah 41:10
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. – Psalm 94:19
Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you an learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
Blessed is the one who trusts the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8
I trust you know the truths from scripture that have anchored you through trying times. As well, may you practice the spiritual disciplines that keep you in love with God and others. These are days to keep the three so-called simple rules before us: Do no harm, Do all the good you can, and Stay in love with God. They are called ‘simple rules’, but they are quite challenging to live out and so daily practice is needed.
As I write these words, we are looking towards the end of the school year. It is a fitting time to reflect on where we’ve been and all that the past year has brought us. While we wonder about all that the future holds, may we take time to remember all the ways Christ has been present in powerful ways. The baptisms celebrated and the funerals held. The Bible studies and small groups that brought people together in community and the mission trips that transformed the world. In ways too numerous to count, Christ is alive through you and the churches throughout the Capital District and Rio Texas Conference.
As we look to the future, I look forward to a time of learning and worship in Corpus at Annual Conference. A few reminders: If you are an Annual Conference delegate, please remember that you need to register your attendance by visiting the conference website. May we also be in prayer for one another and the greater mission of The UMC as we look to elect lay and clergy delegates at this year’s Annual Conference. You can find more information about the voting process as well as clergy and laity who have indicated their interest in being elected here https://riotexas.org/ac2019
I leave you with one of my most favorite Bible verses of all:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
We are not alone. Thanks be to God!
Be encouraged!