Annual Assembly is this weekend!  This is our chance to get the “big picture” of what’s going on in our conference.  One of the things you may notice is our congregations and church plants worship in four languages (maybe more) and our worship services will reflect that.  When I’m part of a group praising God in many tongues, I think of John’s vision in Revelation:  “ I saw a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9). This is exciting and challenging.  Some of us may need to step aside to make room for new leaders.  Others of us may need to strengthen our voices to be heard as leaders.  Western District is growing into the likeness of Christ.

            At Annual Assembly and beyond we are asking God to help us listen carefully to each other even when we disagree.  Especially when we don’t agree.  This is so unlike what’s happening in the world that I call this a spiritual discipline. Jesus listened to and welcomed people into the circle of fellowship who were on the margins.  We will grow into Christ’s likeness as we practice listening to those who don’t agree with us.

            For some of us, many issues in the world have become so challenging to us that our faith has not been built to withstand them.  Our faith formation has looked like disassembling a formerly treasured building.  Others of us have a mature relationship in Christ because we’ve already faced such hurricane winds.  Annual Assembly is a chance to continue to grow into mature faith, with generations together, telling about our struggles and listening to each others’ stories of daily, authentic faith in Christ in times of great difficulty.  Intergenerational Faith Formation may help us do this.

            I look forward to Annual Assembly which is an important gathering where followers of Jesus from all over the conference can listen to each other and to God, and have an opportunity to continue to grow in Christ in challenging times.

-Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (KS-Based)