1392 Robert Fulton Hwy Quarryville, PA 17566 Phone: (717) 786.2723

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Pastor's Corner

Annual Conference - July 2018

Each year in July the Church of the Brethren gathers for its Annual Conference. Brethren from around the nation (and the world!) come together to worship our savior, to reunite with old friends, to make new friends, and to conduct the business of the denomination. This business portion of the meeting can sometimes be contentious, sometimes monotonous, but it's an important aspect of how we discern God's direction for us together. Our denomination is diverse theologically, socio-economically, and we are seeing an increasingly diverse ethnic element. These are all to the good, but sometimes it can feel like our unity is challenged.

In John 17 Jesus prays for the future unity of his disciples. He asks the Father to give his followers the same sort of unity the Son and the Father experience in the Trinity (Jn 17.22-23). The reason Jesus makes this request of the Father is "so that the world may know that you have sent me."

It has often been said that you may be the only Jesus someone sees. This truism is meant to convey the importance of how we live our lives, that is, the importance of ensuring that the love and faithfulness Jesus embodied is likewise embodied in our own lives. Certainly, this is true. But it is equally true that the only kingdom of God a person may see is the local church. As much as our individual lives are meant to convey submission to the cruciform character of Jesus Christ, our churches are meant to be microcosms of his kingdom.

When we gather together in community, we give a glimpse of what Jesus' kingdom will one day be like. We become a place where there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. We become a place where people of different backgrounds, socio-economic status, or language can worship side by side. We become a place where people value others above themselves. We become a place where God's loving Shalom is realized - at least as much as it can be in the midst of a world horribly broken by sin.

I invite you to join me in praying for our unity as a denomination as we head into Annual Conference, July 4th-8th. Perhaps the most important discussion and discernment this year will be around our work on a compelling vision to center and help move us forward as a denomination. Please pray for your delegates this year, Randy Hart, Deb Hart, and myself as we seek to discern the mind of Christ at Conference. You can watch the worship services and business sessions online here: http://www.brethren.org/ac/2018/webcasts/

~ Pastor Calvin Park, Senior Pastor

Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren

1392 Robert Fulton Hwy Quarryville, PA 17566 Phone: (717) 786.2723

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