September Leadership Forum Inspires Many
A lay leader, pastor and young adult might typically view the world differently, but when describing the recent Leadership Forum meeting in Conroe that drew over 300 attendees, their perspectives reinforce that this meeting was experiential and inspiring.
“During the training, I was challenged by Bishop Huie to sail out to the deep waters and experience the values, patterns and practices taught by Wesley,” says Clark Martinson, one of the co-chairs of the Peace with Justice Subcommittee of Social Principals Implementation Ministries (SPIM). “I learned that the United Methodist Church can grow when I share with others why I am committed to attend, serve and support St. Mark's United Methodist Church. In other words, if I share my beliefs with others, maybe they will try us out.”
Nineteen-year-old Marquice Hobbs, a college sophomore and member at Jones Memorial UMC in Houston, “was there representing the younger voice in the Texas Annual Conference.” Adds Marquice, “I am blessed to be president of my youth group at church and president of the conference Youth Council, so it was enlightening to see so many people in leadership at one place, making up a big community right here in Texas.” He enjoyed gleaning insight on what the church needs to do, to move forward. “I like that we congratulate ourselves on some of our successes, but set the bar high and remind ourselves that we will not be finished until God comes again,” he says. He believes youth today focus on the negatives about church and do not realize the power of community. “No one in the church is perfect, but we are hopefully striving for excellence as we become more like Christ.”
Clark particularly liked sitting with others connected to the Church and Society programs. He adds, “Their stories confirmed my joy in the United Methodist Church and they inspired me to share with others so that together we might change the course of the world and experience the Kingdom of God here in Houston.”
Inspiration for a new idea - The UMC Tour de TBC
During the break out session, Clark met Rev. Deanna Young from Christ Church United Methodist Church in the Woodlands. As his small group prayed, he was prompted by the Holy Spirit to organize a bike tour of some of the prison units in the conference. Christ Church has a bicycle covenant group and Kairos ministries. The Kairos Ministries go into the Hightower Prison Unit and teach weekly bible study in the faith-based dorm.
Notes Clark, “What if we had a Bicycle tour ministry (TBC - Texas Bicycle Coalition) that acquaints participants with the Texas Prison system and what the United Methodist Church is doing to share the Word with inmates? I plan to contact Christ Church UMC's Bicycle Covenant Group to see what connections might be made with the church's Kairos Ministry, so we might organize a bicycle tour starting at the Prison Museum in Huntsville. A spokesperson such as Clarence Brandley could share his experience on death row and the justice that he was given when others cared and proved his innocence.” All interested in the bike tour can contact Clark Martinson at 713-824-6808.
Gethsemane UMC Community Pastor Mireya Octaviano says she was impressed with the clarity of the message. “For the first time, I heard all the leaders and speakers saying the same thing about where we are going as a denomination and conference – and why,” Mireya notes. “And that we are not to focus on our own ministries, but see the United Methodist Church as a whole, in support of each other and working for God alone.”