I could have danced all night
ONE OF MY VERY FAVORITE MOVIES is "My Fair Lady." The most thrilling scene for me is when the two lovers unequal in social graces, tangible goods and status realize they not only love each other but are loved by each other. In their newfound joy of love and passion they wanted to dance all night!
For the first time in my life I actually longed for this year's Annual Conference to continue another day and night. There was so much joy and so much to celebrate and dance about.
Ordinarily I don't write about what occurred two months ago, but I just have to reflect a bit about our time together at Annual Conference in June. From the beginning we declared we were relinquishing ownership for the conference and giving it to God. God took what we gave away, blessed it abundantly and returned it to us through grace-filled events and experiences over and over again.
I confess a personal sense of relief and exhilaration with the successful completion of our Legacy of Commitment campaign. We went over our goal! We were triumphant! The thing I dreaded most was the possibility of coming up short and trying to put a positive spin on it, or blaming a shortfall on the economic downturn since Sept. 11. Yet we were able to authentically celebrate the generosity and commitment of our people who went beyond the challenge.
That celebration was only the beginning. Time and again we wept, laughed and rejoiced in stories of transformation, sacrificial outreach, the forgiveness of sins and the hope of life everlasting.
I need to tell you how wonderful you are! Your generosity, wholesomeness and goodwill are an incredible reflection of Jesus Christ. I am so privileged, humbled and continually thankful to be in ministry among you. I honestly believe there is no conference in Methodism where I could serve as bishop with greater fulfillment.
You see, I know how deeply I love you. And I trust I'm not too presumptuous when I believe you love me. You embrace me with such grace! I came to you as a stranger and you have taken me in with such hospitality. My heart is full of joy. I am profoundly grateful to serve among you. With you as my partners, I feel like dancing and dancing and dancing! And I look forward to our life together this conference year with joyous anticipation.
Grace and Peace,
Ray W. Chamberlain Jr.