Blessing & Overturning Our Tables
Opening Worship at #pnwac13
By Jesse N. Love | Photos by Amy Pazan & Jesse N. Love
“It’s gonna be rockin!” shares the Rev. Cara Scriven who is walking down aisles, checking on finer details before Opening Worship begins. The Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Sessions kicked off today, welcoming our 600+ attendees for three days of legislative decision-making, worship, and reunion with colleagues and friends.
Pastor Cecila Clemons and the Opening Worship team led the group with “Gather Us In.” During the Call to Worship we were reminded that the work of Annual Conference will take place in a single area that will serve multiple purposes. Tables in this meeting space were blessed – where we will worship, discuss, disagree and dream.
Ernest Brooks welcomed and provided a Native American blessing for our Conference. “We are all related. Through that relationship with everyone and God, this allows us to come together with respect and dignity.” Brooks even provided a nod to the young people who are participating, seeing them as the next generation to continue the work of the Church.
“Jesus calls us to challenge…and not just comfort. May we be witness to the cross.” shared Grant Hagiya, Bishop for The Greater Northwest Area. In this spirit, members of our Annual Conference presented personal testimonies serving as this morning’s message.
Marie Kuch, shared how her friend’s passing lead to a personal, spiritual revelation strengthening her relationship with friends and family. The Rev. David Tinney reflected on a friend suffering from cancer and the words of joy received during this difficult time. Jenny Yeoh shared how she worked with a group of women who were homeless, victims of human trafficking, or sickly. From these women, Yeoh learned perseverance and unconditional love. The Rev. Denise Roberts opened up about a mission trip she attended and the gifts of courage, grace and passion provided by members of her group. For these presenters, each shared how Jesus “overturned their table.”
During communion, attendees served each other as a symbol of our unity and oneness with the Lord. Cara Scriven presented the Scripture reading found in John 2:13-22, read by Pastors Kathy Kramer, Kevin Lee, and Karen Yakota. The Good News says we are to love our enemies, forgive and let justice flow like a stream.
Opening Worship sent our group forward encouraging us to recognize and respect each of us as we embark on a weekend of holy conferencing.
Jesse N. Love serves as the Print & Publications Manager for the PNWUMC.