The Rev. Natalie Hanson to preach at the 2017 Annual Conference Memorial Service
March 14, 2017 / By
The Rev. Natalie Hanson will be the Memorial Service preacher at the 2017 Upper New York Annual Conference, held June 1-3 at the Oncenter in Syracuse. Rev. Hanson is currently the pastor at Christ-First UMC in Jamestown, N.Y.
Prior to being appointed to Christ First, Rev. Hanson served as District Superintendent of the Niagara Frontier region of the United Methodist Church for eight years. She supervised 81 churches in that position. Rev. Hanson is a graduate of Wesleyan University and completed her seminary work at the Harvard Divinity School. She said of her calling, “I believe I’m called to help others find their calling, their own sense of Christ’s presence in their lives, their own experience of the Spirit’s empowerment, their own identity as beloved sons and daughters of the Living God. I think one of God’s constant nudges is to live more honestly, more transparently, more lovingly.”
Honored to be chosen to deliver the message at the Memorial Service, Rev. Hanson spoke about her feeling on the service held every year at Annual Conference. She said, “The Memorial Service is an especially tender and personal time at Annual Conference, a time when we are able to remember how human we are and how much we are family. So, for me, bringing the message is an incredible opportunity to be in conversation with my colleagues and friends and family about things that are basic to our humanity and central to our faith: our mortality, the mystery of death, the question of ‘what lasts?’ It’s an intimate conversation, even though it’s in a large setting – and it’s a deep privilege.”
Rev. Hanson’s topic for her sermon is “Does it Last?” She will speak about how often Christians wonder whether or not what they do means anything to others, whether or not it makes a difference, whether or not their work will be remembered.
Rev. Hanson will be working with Psalm 90: 1-4, 10, 12-17 and John 12: 20-29. She said she has chosen these scriptures because they are so often used in Memorial celebrations and graveside services and she wants to dig deep into the profound truth that they hold. She said, “The longer I serve in ministry, the more I appreciate the wisdom and ‘pith’ in many of our traditions, and the more I want to unpack the depth and challenge in these much-used passages. If we take them seriously, they’re not easy reading - but they are particularly honest, and profoundly true.”
Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb said, “Rev. Hanson’s willingness to be our Memorial Service preacher will deeply enrich our experience of worship and the remembrance of the saints who have gone before us.”