It is a tradition that our Minister writes a letter every month which is printed in our magazine, "The Messenger". Here's Liz's letter from the May edition.
At the time of writing this letter I have just received the agenda for the annual Convocation of the Methodist Diaconal Order which I will be attending between 2 and 5 May.
So what is Convocation you may be asking?
Convocation comes from the Latin "calling together" and in this instance the calling together of the Methodist Deacons from around Great Britain. Methodist deacons, as well as being ordained ministers within the Methodist Church are also members of a religious community, the Methodist Diaconal Order. As members of the Order deacons experience a sense of belonging and identity to a common calling to servant ministry and being part of a religious order is an important part of being a deacon within the Methodist Church.
Convocation does then provide an opportunity each year to come together as that community, which throughout the rest of the year is dispersed across the British Isles. During this time together, as well as the necessary business matters which are attended to, teaching prayer and mutual support are much in evidence. It provides a place where we can renew old friendships, discuss, agree, disagree and be accountable to each other. Indeed there is some truth in John's description of Convocation as "hug a deek week"!
Having just celebrated Easter the picture of Jesus as servant, given in John 13 as he washes his disciples' feet before sharing in the Passover meal is still fresh in our thoughts. In the reading Jesus gives his followers an example "... now that I have washed your feet you should wash one another's feet ... do as I have done for you" he says. Convocation offers the opportunity for deacons to recommit themselves to just such a ministry; a ministry of service to each other and to the wider church and world.
Over the coming months Four Oaks Methodist Church is facing a time of great change - a change of ministers and change to the church building. Change always seems to bring with it a time when stress levels rise, times when we don't see things in quite the same way as someone else. It is good at such times to remember that we have been "called together" (convocation) to follow Jesus' serving example. As her served the disciples, let us serve each other so that all may know themselves loved and valued. As we live through changing times may each of us be assured of His presence with us and recommit ourselves to serve God through our love, prayer and support of each other: "watching over each other in love".
With love and blessings to you all.