By Jessica Brodie
I don’t know about you, but the last month has been rough. The aftermath of General Conference, the letters and emails I’ve received, the turmoil and tears and hate speech and animosity—it had me tied up in knots and heartsick over how we’d all get through. Part of me wanted to bury my head in the sand and binge-watch feel-good movies on Netflix while eating way too much dark chocolate. The other half wanted to hit the streets armed with every ounce of advocacy I could muster to love on all my brothers and sisters in Christ.
By the time production rolled around on the paper, I found myself on my knees, begging God for the strength and stamina to pull it all together.
And then… something beautiful happened! If you look through these pages carefully—don’t just skim-read but really, truly pore over the contents of this month’s newspaper—you’ll see what I mean. Look at it all! Page after page, you can see it: evidence of Jesus Christ fully at work through His people called Methodists. No matter what we sinful and imperfect human beings get wrong, God is on the move in spite of and perhaps because of us, shining through us in big ways and small.
We have some outstanding articles in this month’s edition! Take a look at Laura McCaskill’s piece on the BEDS ministry in Florence, which is now spanning out to other counties. The Rev. Darlene Kelley writes about how her church loves on its veterans in her article, “Chicken, Lima Beans and Love,” and I can’t help but be overcome by the humbling and powerful stories of our all-volunteer Early Response Teams, who give up precious time to respond after disasters (see Billy Robinson’s article on the tornado response here). The Rev. Michael Walker’s “My Call to Ministry” (Page 5) hit me hard, and there were a whopping 13 letters to the editor spanning four pages (our brothers and sisters are fired up!). Jacque Godwin’s “Keep on Believing” feature on Dawn Smith Jordan’s hope after tragedy testimony was heartwarming, and I was thrilled to learn our very own Spartanburg Methodist College has gotten the nod to offer its first four-year degree this fall (Page 8). And you can’t tell me the Youth Special Section (Pages 16-18) wasn’t impressive. Wow!
My friends, my heart went from down in the dumps over the strife in our denomination to positively soaring when God showed me, in our very own newspaper, all the wonderful ways He is at work no matter what happened at General Conference.
I urge you to take a good look at these articles. Let them move you. Let them inspire you.
And then share those stories with us here at the Advocate. There is so much good we are doing in The United Methodist Church. Praise Jesus!