Weekly Devotion & Prayer- August 22, 2022

"The Importance of Leaders in Such a Time as This"

I am one of three new district superintendents for the WI Annual Conference. If we have not met yet-- hello! I hope to meet you soon. 

The folks that I have met in my new position are WONDERFUL! I love the people, I love WI, and I love United Methodists. This position is such an honor because I get to combine all three loves at the same time! 

In my many beautiful travels in SW WI while meeting with pastors and congregations, I have noticed the importance of good leadership. We are so blessed with our talented and dedicated clergy. And we would not be able to offer the fantastic, shared ministry without the hard-working, creative, and faith-filled lay people! Oh my, thank you! 

And just as our local churches need good, strong leadership, so does the larger Church! I cannot help but think of the story of Esther and her cousin Mordecai, and how Mordecai called out his cousin to be a leader in her day and time for their people (Esther 4:14). We, too, find ourselves in difficult times and need God's people to consider new roles of leadership. I invite us to pray this week so that God might use us to help discern those leaders. 

First, I ask that we pray for our church leaders-- yes, the pastor and staff, but also the nursery care providers, ushers, kitchen volunteers, and food pantry workers. All of us are leaders in different ways. Please also include Bishop Jung, the Cabinet, and Conference staff too-- we'll never turn down the chance to receive solid UM prayers! 

Secondly, I would also ask us to pray for God to lift leaders for our jurisdiction. I would like us to pray for the Rev. Dan Schwerin. He is supported by our delegation as well as our Conference as an episcopal candidate for our jurisdiction. Pray for all of those putting themselves forward in this heavy and humbling task. 

The Revs. Krysta Deede and Jenny Arneson of our WI delegation have worked on sharing a breakthrough prayer to lift Dan during this time of discernment (below). It is a beautiful prayer to use as we make our way to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Fort Wayne, IN in November, where episcopal elections will take place. 

Thank you for all your love, hard work and passion. I am so grateful for the ministry and people of the WI UMC! 

Lyrical God, envelop your servant, Dan, with the creative, dynamic power of Holy Spirit as he lays bare his justice-seeking heart for the episcopal role.  Shepherd him in personal acts of piety, yielding staggering acts of mercy.  Illuminate his endeavor for leadership with humility, compassion, and love in every word, action or encounter with your beloved children and creation. Amen.