Gillian Gilmore and Johnny Best taking us through the Caleb story in the ‘Wholehearted Session’.
The second day of the Representative Session opened with an address by the former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Rev Charles McMullen, on behalf of the guests. He commended the wholeheartedness and the Connexion he had experienced and the palpable sense of God’s presence.
After some business corrections, the Conference moved into the first “Wholehearted” session. This was presented by Gillian Gilmore and Johnny Best, based on the story (from Numbers) of Caleb’s trust in God. He alone advocated an advance into the Promised Land but ten other spies persuaded the Israelites to turn back through fear. We were challenged about our trust in God – did we need to be reminded of God’s promises? We were asked if we had knowledge of God’s vision for us Methodists.
There was assurance for our vision that God is taking on the battle and that the yoke will be easy and the burden appropriate. Joshua and Caleb did see, 45 years later, the fulfilment of God’s promises – Caleb received Hebron.
Living wholeheartedly is our vision and it must involve the transformation of the world. This was worked out in the second “wholeheartedly” session when the Conference divided into its three districts during which groups were seated round tables. Two exercises were completed.
- Everyone was asked to dig deep and identify what “land” God was asking him/her to take. Two or three points were listed and sent by phone to the mentimeter.
- Having identified the “land”, each was asked to consider how they would achieve their objective. Answers were written and collected for further work at district gatherings.
The session ended with prayer and blessing. Back in plenary session the Lay Leader, Tom
Wilson, committed the morning’s work to God. Then the three District Superintendents, the District Lay Leaders, and the districts, were prayed for in a moving sequence of Connexional prayer support. The Secretary of Conference, the Rev Dr Heather Morris, closed the morning by reminding us that God has placed passion in each of our hearts. She reminded us that God comes running to meet us where we are. With God, we can certainly do it as Caleb said.
The afternoon began with a detailed report from the Council on Social Responsibility with Northern and Southern perspectives presented by the Rev David Clements and the Rev Stephen Foster respectively. Rev Brian Anderson of East Belfast Mission gave a moving description of modern poverty. He praised the cooperation of “Christians against Poverty” (Paul Livingstone) and the Trussel Trust (Lindsay Conway). Brian hoped that such cooperation would develop and ensure more effective work against poverty.
The service of remembrance for deceased ministers was for the following:
Rev David Houston, Rev John Robinson, Rev Richard Russell, and Rev Vanessa Wyse Jackson.
The afternoon continued with the announcement of Rev David Turtle as the President designate.
The following Ministers were received into Full Connexion: Rev Daphne Hanna, Rev Michael
Jones, Rev Edam Dzumu.
Tributes to retiring ministers were paid to : Rev Tommy Stevenson, Rev Bobby Loney, Rev Colin Duncan, Rev George Bowes.
The following probationers were commissioned: Jackie McNair, Richard Wright
Dr Chris and Mrs Hannah Agnew were commissioned to Portrush Pioneer Mission.
With the remaining items of business taken the day closed until the IMYC hosted the final “Wholeheartedly” session.