We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf has entered, having become a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Siblings in Christ,
I pray that all our souls are anchored in Christ, who is our hope.
This past summer I had the opportunity to rest and relax with my husband and fur baby, be educated around leadership and my African American heritage and spend time in retreat with colleagues and friends. Because of the anchoring work I did this summer, I have a renewed sense of hope in the sufficiency of the saving work of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, the providence of God and the mission and ministry of The United Methodist Church in Western Pennsylvania.
As churches around our annual conference begin their fall programming, I have been praying that in the midst of everything in the world and the church that threatens to divide and distract us, we will anchor ourselves in Christ and focus on the work to which we have been called by Jesus who is our Lord and Savior.
We are experiencing lingering health and economic realities of COVID, ongoing struggles with drug addiction in our region, deteriorating mental health conditions of many in our communities, endemic violence in our nation and countless other global issues. In times like these, we need to be anchored in Christ and laser focused on being the presence of Christ in the world. We need to be anchored and laser focused on sharing the love of God with our neighbors. We need to be anchored and laser focused on our relationship with God so that we might faithfully discern God’s particular will for the mission and ministry of each of our local churches and our annual conference. Now more than ever the world needs to hear about and experience the saving power of Jesus Christ through us!
Our regional program staff persons are laser focused on finding new ways to help churches live into greater vitality in mission and ministry. Our administrative staff continues to evaluate the best structures and tools needed to provide for our administrative needs, a critical part of mission and ministry. Your Coordinating Cabinet continues to explore new ways to provide administrative and programmatic leadership and our Connectional Leadership Table will soon embark on a process to help ensure we are continuing to see and live into God’s vision for the annual conference.
As we seek to learn new, more effective and faithful ways of being the church, I am grateful there are some things about who we are that will never change. As people called United Methodist in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, we have always been and will always be a diverse people; some with traditional views about the world and theology, some with progressive views about the world and theology and some in between. We have always been diverse in the ways in which we worship and engage in the community around us. God has always used our diversity to hold in tension personal piety and social holiness, personal salvation and social justice, so together we can more completely and faithfully meet the needs of the hurting world around us. We are a unique blend I am convinced, without any reservation, will continue to bring God glory.
I am convinced of this because of our unchangeable beliefs which are found in our Articles of Religion and Confessions of Faith. Among other things, we will always be a people who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and that He is the way to our personal salvation and the salvation of all creation.
Jesus Christ is our anchor!
Peace and blessings,
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi