‘And, how are all the children?’

“Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” —Matthew 19:14

By Bishop Jonathan Holston

As you receive this issue of the Advocate, we will be counting the days to our upcoming 2014 Annual Conference session on June 1-4 at the Convention Center in Florence.

For our laity and clergy, Annual Conference represents the time that we come together to celebrate our unity in Christ and deep affection for one another. Each year, we meet together for worship, fellowship and to conduct the business of our conference. Our theme, “A More Excellent Way: Creating Corridors of Faith, Hope and Love,” gives us an opportunity to celebrate this shared ministry of compassion, community and hope.

As we gather, we are again challenged to have a “God-sized” dream. Our special emphasis this year is the initiative with children and poverty, campus ministry and the Million Book Effort. Led by the Rev. Ricky Howell and the Pan-Methodist Task Force, the Million Book Effort is our God-sized vision to increase literacy among children in South Carolina. By collecting age-appropriate books for distribution throughout the state, we will make a difference in the lives of our children.

Our ultimate goal is for United Methodists across this Annual Conference to take an active role in addressing illiteracy among all the children.

As we share in this awesome event, consider these words from Francis of Assisi; namely:

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light; and

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

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