Conference Blog


Numbers Games

By Brian Bauknight


My eight-year-old granddaughter loves number games.  She enjoys math at school, and frequently wants me to be with her while she practices her addition, subtraction, and multiplication on an ingenious computer web site.   On most Sunday nights, she and I play some games which involve numbers.  A game of Tensie, Phase 10, Yahtzee, 500, or Uno is usually one of the games of choice.  Her mind works quickly in these games, and she often wins—especially in the card games.  She can plan ahead and ...

Living a Kingdom Life

By Brian Bauknight


Kingdom living is at the core of Jesus teaching.  This principle has taken me almost a lifetime to realize and understand.  Jesus is not about my “being good” so I can get into Heaven and avoid Hell.  Jesus is not about a desert piety that will make me more spiritual.  Jesus is about living a “Kingdom life” here and now to the honor and glory of God.   Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom of God in His teaching than about any other topic.  Unfortunately the phrase “Kingdom of God” has little ...

The Defining Event

By Brian Bauknight


?I thought last night’s presidential candidate debate was largely a non-event.  The hype for the 90-minute affair was incredible.  One network even had an on-screen countdown in the lower right-hand corner for two days!  MLB and the NFL seemed after-thoughts by comparison.   All real news seemed to pale into insignificance.  Only the weather was “normal” in broadcast schedules.  Countless pundits were summoned to multiple studios to offer their pre-debate analyses and predictions.  To this ...

Spiritual Dimensions of Life

By Brian Bauknight


A lot of the reading I have done lately has addressed the need to explore and find life at a deeper level.  Most recently, I have been reading a book by David Brooks entitled The Road to Character (Random House, 2015).  While not a specifically religious book, it does seem to explore a lot of the spiritual dimensions of life.  Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, teaches at Yale, and appears on various  television “news magazines."   At one point, he writes about the relatively ...

A Plan?

By Brian Bauknight


In this very volatile and unsettling presidential candidacy season, there is much talk about “who has what plan?” What is her plan?  What is his plan? Does any candidate really have a plan—a plan for immigration, a plan for improving wages or stimulating the economy, a plan for health care, a plan to save the planet and the environment, a plan for peace in the Middle East,  etc.?  Perhaps some answers will emerge in the coming weeks.  We have some hints, some bits and pieces.  But we (or at ...

Compelling Choreography

By Brian Bauknight


Apart from any political implications, I was impressed with the detailed flow and connectedness of the DNC last week.  The RNC was coordinated also, but the DNC seemed almost flawless and precise as it unfolded from introductory video to speaker to the “next item” on the agenda.  From lowered lights to video to spotlight—even the technology seemed extraordinarily well planned and expertly orchestrated.   Someone or some group had put exceptional work into each movement and each detail of the ...


By Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


This originally appeared in a Facebook post on July 20, 2016. I love the concept of “intercession.” Over the years it has been wonderful to hear and to say, “When you are unable or not strong enough to pray, there is someone, somewhere who is praying for you.” We intercede on behalf of those who cannot pray. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton with son T.J., left, and dad Jim. Many of you know that my father, Jim, has been struggling with life in an ICU here in Brandenton, Florida. I, along with ...

Monroeville Church Works to Dismantle Racism

By Dianne Glave


The Rev. Ed Schoeneck, pastor of Monroeville United Methodist Church, understands the urgency of white people growing their cultural competencies in response to racism, including white privilege and implicit bias.  On Sunday, July 17, 2016, he urged the predominantly white congregation to begin or continue their journey in dismantling racism in the United Methodist Church and their own neighborhoods in two ways: Welcoming our new African American bishop, Taking some personal steps in learning ...

Pondering Pokemon Go

By Brian Bauknight


Last week, we took five grandchildren to Niagara Falls for (what my wife calls) a “Grand Adventure” (only grandparents and grandchildren allowed).  During the trip, our two oldest grandsons (ages 13 and 14) began to point out sites and businesses we were passing, then and then became highly animated. Occasionally, they asked me to stop the car for a few minutes—at a post office, a gas station or another landmark.  I then discovered that they had discovered Pokemon Go!   The next two days were ...

Life, Liberty, Happiness and Justice

By Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


Listening to the radio last night, I heard a commentator use a phrase that stuck with me all evening. The phrase was "the benefit of humanity." As I drove last night I asked myself the question, "What ARE the benefits of being human?" What first came to mind were these words: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." That phrase, as you may know, is in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In Thomas Jefferson's rough draft for the declaration, it reads, "We hold these truths to be sacred ...

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