Prayers for Annual Meeting

by Karen Richter

Good day, SWC friends! It’s Annual Meeting time! Like many of you, I am full-up with travel plans, budgets and resolutions, to-do lists, and tiny bottles of hair products. Instead of the “usual” blog article for this first Monday of May, I’d like to share with you my prayers for our gathering in Albuquerque.

Spirit of Life; Spirit of Love – we ask that you cover our Annual Meeting with good gifts:

  • That a spirit of prayer mark all parts of our time together.
  • That volunteers for the hosting congregations have a good experience and feel appreciated.
  • That delegates and guests are welcomed with hospitality.
  • That all persons speaking in the plenary sessions and workshops feel heard and valued.
  • That relationships with one another and with You are renewed, deepened or begun afresh.
  • That we might more fully cherish our covenants with one another.
  • That each person present listens gracefully to the voices around them, especially when there’s disagreement.
  • That we grasp opportunities for celebration and connection.
  • That our inaugural anti-racism training goes smoothly and that lay and clergy participants and participant/facilitators are energized and inspired to further reflection and to work in counter-oppression movements.
  • That travel is a safe and enriching time for those who are coming to Albuquerque by car or plane.
  • That each person attending leaves with a sense of renewal and centeredness around their calling in the United Church of Christ’s setting in the Southwest Conference.
  • That we each travel home safely with energy to work alongside God and our brothers and sisters to further our mission and vision in the world!

Spirit whose name is mercy, hear our prayer! Amen.

To Seek With Heart and Soul

by Talitha Arnold

They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and with all their soul.” – 2 Chronicles 15: 1-15

This May 22 at the church I serve, we celebrate the “Rite of Initiation and Confirmation” with six young people from the congregation. The service marks the end of a two-year journey for the young adolescents and also the beginning of their adult lives, or the “initiation to adulthood,” as we call it.

Right now the Youth Confirmands are working on their Statements of Faith to present to the congregation that Sunday. Each young person will share what they believe about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. Some of their answers are long, others quite brief. A youth once wrote about the Holy Spirit: “I don’t know what it is or what it’s supposed to do. Do you?”

Whether their answers are long or short, and whether or not they choose to confirm their faith and join the church, the Youth Confirmands are living into the kind of covenant with God that the Book of Chronicles records the people of Israel made centuries ago—a covenant not to obey God or follow God or even love God. It is, instead, to seek God, “with all their heart and with all their soul.”

United’s Youth Confirmands may not be ready, even after two years, to confirm their faith this May. That’s okay. What we truly hope is that they will continue to seek God, with heart and soul.

In so doing, may they know something of God’s presence and grace. As the Greek author Nikos Kazantakis wrote in his book, St. Francis, “What is God but the search for God?”

Prayer

Thank you, God, for the journey and for the questions. Amen.