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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    Perspectives: CLT Prayer Initiative

    CLT Prayer Initiative: About the authors

    February 3, 2020 / By / 3 Comments

    Rev. Nancy Dibelius is a Provisional Deacon who is currently appointed as the Assistant Director of Vital Congregations for Upper NY; her focus in this ministry is the spiritual life of individuals and congregations.

    When I was invited to participate in this prayer initiative, I didn’t hesitate. However, when I was asked to respond to the question ‘why am I doing this,’ I didn’t have an immediate response. That was in part because I have known for quite some time that praying/intercession was one of my gifts; it is my ‘go to’ like the words of the song, “as close as breathing, as close as prayer.” However, I rarely use the word ‘intercession;’ I have always thought of it as ‘standing in the gap,’ offering, lifting up, extending, giving voice to that which is not always able to be spoken. But it is also about helping listen (to the still small voice in the silence), listen for God’s deep desire, for that which will lead us closer to the Kingdom as God imagines. And so, in this anxious time and space, I will do my best to ‘stand in the gap.’

    Drew Griffin is the Associate Conference Lay Leader and Binghamton District Lay Leader.

    During these uncertain times in the life of the UMC, many are experiencing a variety of emotions that accompany change, loss, and an unknown future. So when I was considering what provides comfort, what eases fears, what brings peace, and what grows our trust in God? It occurred to me that it’s the Holy Spirit that provides comfort, eases fears, brings peace, and grows our trust in God through prayer and community. I am blessed to have been called to work with this team and share these prayers with the churches and people of Upper New York. May they help provide comfort and peace in this season. So I invite you to join us in praying for all of God’s people and all of God’s future churches.

    Rev. Steven Taylor is lead pastor of the Panama UMC in the Cornerstone District.

    This prayer initiative gives us some common focus in uncommon times in our Conference. As we take seriously Jesus' mandate to love each other in order to show that we are His disciples (John 13:34), our response is to pray for each other during these uncommon times. I am humbled to be working with Drew, Nancy, and Harold to offer some shared time before the Lord, some common worship prayers, and a sense that, even though we are uncertain about the denomination, we can be certain of the shared love of Jesus amongst us. Please join us in praying for each other and for God's vision for the future.

    Rev. Harold Wheat is pastor at Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Binghamton District.

    From the day in Sunday School when I decided on a picture of Christ as my end of year “prize,” Jesus has been part of my path. He has been faithful through all my questioning, and even stayed near me when I have denied him. Now I live to serve him as an ordained Elder in my 12th year of ministry. I have witnessed grace in many beautiful forms. Although my primary experience of our current United Methodist reality is perplexed sadness with overtones of frustration, there are moments when I can see grace on the horizon.  I write and pray in hopes of being in touch with and helping others (you?) find that grace and remember that God is near.  

    Comments 3

    Thanks for this opportunity to pray for those we agree with, and especially for those with whom we disagree. I think this gentle spiritual discipline can only help us all keep our eyes on Christ!

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on February 4, 2020 at 9:05 am

    My pastor shared this with me. Thank you for initiating it! Praying is the best we can do in times like these!

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on February 4, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing many of the expressed prayerful thoughts above--they "call me to prayer" with many of the same thoughts and words, as our hearts are so saddened by our inability to see others' beliefs, even when we read the same Bible and pray to what we fervently believe is the same God. Help us ALL to know the God that LOVES US ALL...THE GOD THAT WANTS US ALL TO LOVE HIM AND EACH OTHER.

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on February 10, 2020 at 3:49 pm

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    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."