Reflection - May 31, 2017

By Darren McClellan

published 5/31/2017
Dear Friends,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

With the 2017 Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference only days away, today’s reflection is rather pragmatic as I am working through my mental checklist in preparation for the big event at Frazer UMC.  Some are on my “to-do” list, but all are on the “prayer” list.  Thus, I gladly share it with you in the case that one or more of these need to be added to your list as well.  And no, my mother did not write this for me, but she has served as inspiration.

So here it is:
  1.  Did you know?  The Baypines District is the “host” district for this year’s Annual Conference.  What does this mean?  It means that certain hospitality measures have been taken to ensure a pleasant experience for our guest musicians, presenters, and teachers.  In addition, when you see Dr. Vic Dingus, Claire Bowen, Robert McMichael, and Jarvis Wilson or anyone else for that matter, I hope you will greet them with a Spirit-filled enthusiasm.  Being host also means that we will be covering each session of the Annual Conference in prayer.  You will notice many laity and clergy who will be offering prayers from the floor throughout the working agenda.  You will also see our own Rev. Jay Cooper moving feverishly about as the coordinator of the many worship services at this year’s conference.  This is no small task, and one which deserves our heartfelt appreciation.  Pray for Jay, and if he taps you on the shoulder for something, say “yes!”
  1. Did you pack well?  I know we are not heading to a fashion show, but some semblance of professional attire does tend to reflect our commitment to the importance of this mission.  Particularly among our clergy, I would remind you to register for your photoshoot for the Annual Conference pictorial directory.  Speaking from experience as an itinerant clergyperson, I have found that this picture will be used in more ways than you or I could possibly imagine.  So by all means, let’s make it a good one!
  1. Did you eat well?  Well, we’re about to find out!  For those on the Conference health plan, I encourage you to take advantage of the biometric screening sessions that will be available. With the annual deadline looming in August, the cost of NOT doing this in time is exorbitant, both physically and financially.
  1. Did you bring your gifts?  The conference offering this year will go toward our local mission agencies: The Ark, Mary Ellen’s Hearth, Milk & Honey, Mobile Inner City Mission, Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries, and Dumas Wesley.  Let’s show them our support!
  1. Did you bring your books?  The 2017 Brochure of Reports have been disseminated throughout the district.  If you still need a copy and are not sure where to turn, call Stephanie (of course!).  Digital copies are also available, as are worship bulletins and other guides, at  While you are at it, bring your Bible too!
I look forward to seeing all of you next week in Montgomery.  Anytime a new bishop is set to preside there is always an extra hint of anticipation in the air.  I too have approached annual conference differently this year as a new district superintendent.  The expectation of something new is an appropriate lens, I think, for the work that is ahead of us.  Hence the theme, Imagine: By Faith it Can Happen.

Lord, grant us the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen!
See you next week!