Day 11- Called Home

May 21, 2016

This was written on Thursday evening by Sally Queen, but I think it speaks for many of us.  We are all "called home" to be in ministry in the place we call home. MR by Sally Queen

Tomorrow morning, I head home to see my family, sleep in my bed, and return to the work to which I am called.  I remember telling Bishop Goodpaster that I hoped I would still love the church after two weeks of General Conference.  Being a first timer has been eye opening, tiring, and heart breaking and it has been engaging and inspiring.  As much as the legislation seems to drag along and the differing points of view seem to abound, the spirit of God is at work through the church I call my home.
I celebrate the mission and ministry that the United Methodist Church is engaged in throughout the world especially in regards to the Imagine No Malaria campaign that has helped to drastically reduce the number of children who die from malaria.  I celebrate all the deaconesses, home missioners, and missionaries we have been commissioned for life giving ministry to our hurting world.  I celebrate the social justice actions that our church stands for and represents.  I celebrate the clergy and laity who give of their time to serve and to lead our church.  I celebrate that I was here to celebrate the 60 year anniversary of full clergy rites to women.  I celebrate that General Conference gifted our bishops the chance to speak and lead and I celebrate that we took a step toward maintaining unity.  I celebrate that folks from different perspectives will be brought to the table to talk, listen, and discern the future of our church.
For me, this step is one of hope and possibility.  Many fear that this may be the end of the middle and that our church will ultimately divide.  What comes to my mind when thinking about division is one of the most insightful words I heard a person say as they contemplated separation in their marriage after a hurtful action.  The person said, “I cannot make the decision from a place of bitterness and must press on until my decision can be made from a place of love.”  I pray that our step at this General Conference will be time for us to trust, pray and breathe, so that our decision for the future can be made out of love.  Many are critiquing saying we have done nothing and are leaving much undone and to that I say, our bitterness abounds.  We disagree and we have hurt each for too long.  If we had made another decision, particularly around human sexuality, our decision would have been made out of bitterness.  I am hopeful and see the possibility for a decision made out of love as God calls people to the table for conversation.
For two weeks our theme has been “Therefore Go,” and so I return home loving the church and ready to transition back to leading a local church.  I am so excited and hope filled for all the possibilities.  I am energized and ready to do that to which I am called…to be a mama preacher.  After the hugs and kisses from my family, our first item on the agenda is to dance.  On Saturday, I will watch my girls make magic on the stage as they dance their hearts out and I will join them tap dancing with my adult friends to Uptown Funk.  This home seems far away from the Oregon Convention Center.  And thanks be to God that it is the home I call my own.
Rev. Sally Queen is a reserve clergy delegate from Gastonia, NC