By Bishop Jonathan Holston
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”—2 Corinthians 5:7
The 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference held at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, is now history. Delegates representing 15 Annual Conferences across the Southeast met at this 21st session of the SEJ to elect five new bishops, as well as assign all of our episcopal leaders to places of leadership. Felecia and I were honored and humbled to receive our assignment from the SEJ Committee on Episcopacy to serve a second term in the South Carolina Conference (Columbia Area). We feel blessed to be assigned “back home again” and to continue our efforts to dream God-sized visions with laity and clergy across this wonderful state.
I also believe we have more work to do as we continue to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Our vision to seek a more excellent way in mission and ministry remains the same.
We will begin the 2016-2017 conference year together as we live into the theme of “walking by faith, not by sight.” This fall the Bishop’s Forward Focus tour will continue our series of district meetings just as we’ve done each year since arriving in South Carolina. From road shows to barbecue bashes, we’ve always sought ways to share ministry together. This year will be no different as we continue to focus forward our ministry together in South Carolina. So look for the schedule with dates, times and locations as they are announced (see article Page 1).
As we continue to seek a more excellent way, I share with you words from a good friend and colleague indicating the best of devotion to God and community:
“A number of years ago, a young man stood before a group of leaders and indicated that history will not judge our endeavors merely on the basis of color or creed or even party affiliation. Neither will competence and loyalty and stature, while essential to the utmost, suffice in times such as these.
For of those to whom much is given, much is required…(and) our success or failure in whatever office we may hold will be measured by the answers to four questions.
First, are we truly people of courage … with the courage to resist public pressure as well as private greed?
Second, are we truly people of judgment … with the perceptive judgement of our own mistakes, as well as the mistakes of others, with enough wisdom to know what we do not know and enough candor to admit it?
Third, are we truly people who will not abandon the principles in which we believe or the people who believe in them?
Finally, are we people of dedication with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group and compromised by no private obligation or aim but devoted solely to serving?”
It is my hope and prayer that God will enable us to truly be persons of courage, perceptive judgement, integrity and dedication. As we seek to walk by faith and not by sight, let us embrace the challenge that requires us to go to places we do not know—places that God will reveal to us as we walk in joyful obedience.
In the meantime, please know that we’re rejoicing in this wonderful opportunity to continue ministry in South Carolina. So let the journey continue!