Bishops, churches “Praying our Way Forward”

With the United Methodist Church’s Special Session of General Conference, Feb. 23-26, its leaders and many members are calling for intensive prayer. At least one Eastern PA Conference church—and perhaps others as well—is inviting whosoever will to come join them as they livestream the first day’s session, which will be devoted totally to prayer.

The Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops invites “each congregation and every member to join us in even deeper and more fervent prayer.”

“We seek your prayers as the delegates receive and act upon the report from The Commission on a Way Forward and corresponding petitions,” the bishops, including Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson. “Please lift this session of holy conferencing in prayer in each of your churches … throughout the week.”

St. Louis, Missouri, USA downtown cityscape with the arch and courthouse at dusk.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the General Conference, gathered in St. Louis, Mo, will dedicate its entire first day to prayer. The session will be made viewable by United Methodist Communications through live-streaming beginning at 10 AM, ET (at http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/general-conference-2019-live-video-stream-english).  

Members and friends are being asked to pray along with the Conference delegates, Bishops and attendees on that day. Grove UMC (490 Boot Rd, West Chester, PA) will welcome anyone who wants to pray in a similar gathering to come join members there as they view the livestreamed session and witness the many, international offerings of prayer.  

Church to host livestreamed, live-action prayer service

“We want to invite anyone who wants to spend all or some of the day in prayer to join us at Grove,” said the Rev. Diana Esposito, youth pastor, announcing that the church will live stream General Conference’s Day of Prayer from 10 AM to 3 PM and offer themed prayer stations for people to visit as they participate.

“We welcome anyone who would like to join us and who believe standing together as a unified United Methodist Church is important,” explained the deacon. “The scope for this event is intended to be a time of prayer, experiencing prayer from many cultures as led by bishops from four regions of the world.” 

Esposito said the church will pray for the Eastern PA Conference delegation and for “the unified future of The United Methodist Church.” Their “twofold prayer focus” is the Called General Conference itself and the desire for “increased effectiveness in our mission.” They will end the day with a closing prayer service and Holy Communion, (from 3 to 4:30 PM) using the theme “Seek God’s Will.”

All are welcome. They just ask that people let them know they’re coming “so we know how much coffee to make.” Email her at diana@grovechurch.org, or call the church office at 610-696-2663.

The church provides promotional resources for the event, including a prayer service schedule and a list of prayer stations:

Let us know if your church is planning a public prayer service or other special event of witness before, during or after the Called General Conference. Use our online Submit News form or email us at communications@epaumc.org.

Read the message from the Bishops of the UMC’s Northeast Jurisdiction

We bid you grace and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ:

During the Northeastern College of Bishops meeting, January 28th – 30th, we your Bishops prayed for the Church and in particular the clergy and laity of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.

As the Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis, MO, February 23-26, 2019, is just days away, we invite each congregation and every member to join us in even deeper and more fervent prayer. We seek your prayers as the delegates receive and act upon the report from The Commission on a Way Forward and corresponding petitions. Along with the Apostle Paul, we pray that the “God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 CEB).  

Please lift this session of holy conferencing in prayer in each of your churches this Sunday and throughout the week. On Saturday, February 23, the General Conference will dedicate the entire day to prayer. This will be available through live-streaming (umc.org) and we invite as many as possible to pray along with the Conference delegates, Bishops and attendees.  

We are confident that God will work all things together for good as God’s people are faithful in prayer and obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As John Wesley said “best of all, God is with us.”