A Note from Dr. Bishop

A Note from Dr. Bishop

 September 11, 2017

Mobile District Family,

There is so much going through my head – and my heart – today.
 
I am drawn to that morning 16 years ago when I sat in the parking lot of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church. My son had recently started first grade. My husband was at work. I was going to a UMW Circle meeting. The radio announcer interrupted the music with startling news. Planes had flown into the Twin Towers in New York City. Another flew into a field in Pennsylvania. Yet another, flew into The Pentagon – next to the entrance I used when I was stationed there.
 
I spent the morning with the members of the circle. We prayed a lot. That afternoon I was thankful to hold my son in my arms when he got off the school bus. Tom and I waited for news from friends who worked at The Pentagon. Thankfully, they were safe.
 
Our still serviceable, but not bright, shiny and new, American flag hung amongst all the new American flags people hung from their homes. At first Tom and I thought we needed a new flag. We decided not to buy a new one. We proudly displayed our flag that we always displayed. It was our statement – we are always thankful to be Americans and our not-so-new flag proves it!
 
It seems to me we could feel the same way about being United Methodist. Thankful, through our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), we are ready to respond to the devastation brought on by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We have the capability to respond because our UMC is already organized to respond every day. Our theology, our Social Principles, and our focus on God’s grace ensure we are ready to care for others in any time of need. What a great time to say we are United Methodist and we care about others.
 
We all come together as United Methodists. We give to UMCOR through our local church. St. Mark UMC is set up to receive donations. Emergency Response Teams are deployed to assist with clean-up. All these things are accomplished through our connection to each other. Being United Methodist is a great thing!
 
This week our Conference is participating in “Praying Our Way Forward.” We are praying for the mission of the UMC and the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. Please pay particular attention to the communication provided by the Alabama-West Florida Conference Communications Office this week.
 
I realize a lot of “stuff” comes your way. I get all those emails too.
 
So, let’s stop for a minute. Breathe. Open our hearts.
 
And pray together: Good and gracious God, we have so much going on in our lives. Sometimes it is just too much. We hear about the devastation from the storms and we are overwhelmed. Let your Holy Spirit focus us now – focus us on prayers for your church called United Methodist. Help us to respond every day and not wait for a storm or a big event. Thank you for loving us, help us to love each other. In Jesus’ name, amen.
 
Now, let’s listen. Listen to what God is calling us to be – as individuals and God’s church called United Methodist. 

Dr. Debora Bishop
Mobile District Superintendent