I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” . . .  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem . . . For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.  Psalm 122: 1, 6, 9.

A week away from the opening of Annual Conference, I finally sat down to read through my Pre-Conference Handbook. (Well, I did skim a few things.) It’s kind of thin this year, fitting into a small binder with room to spare. That means there will be time to spare. Less business means conversations can go beyond a passing hello. We can catch the excitement of ideas from our speakers, and begin imagining their application here. We can come to worship without our energy drained and our relationships strained. We’ll have differences, of course. But I expect a kind of spaciousness this year – a space we can inhabit as our common house.

That image took me to the Psalms called “songs of ascents,” the ones that were sung by pilgrims walking up the long grade to Jerusalem and the Temple. At its best, Annual Conference is our movable Jerusalem – the place our hearts are joined together in worship, our voices raised in conversation and song, our ears opened to listen and learn together. May we gather in God’s peace, seeking the good of our common house.

Prayer: As we gather in Pasco, give us pilgrims’ hearts, glad to come together in your name. Give us holy conversation, true worship, and delight in our fellowship as disciples of Jesus. Amen.

Daily Practice: As you read conference materials, pack your suitcase, and plan your travel to Pasco, sing a hymn or song you know by heart. Like those dusty pilgrims singing along the way, we’re going to our holy gathering place.


Devotional written by the Rev. Pat Simpson. Simpson serves the Seattle District of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference as District Superintendent. 

Image Credit: “Jerusalem – The Road to Station” by Flickr User Chatham University JKM Library


  1. Patrick Scriven:
    I enjoyed this short “prep” for AC.
    It would be great if you listed some of the songs we’ll be singing together in the auditorium?
    Maybe the Bishop’s favorite hymn?
    We could practice them at home and on the road.
    METHODISTS need to keep singing more. . . . .

    Helen Engle, old MYFer.

  2. Thanks, Pat. You’ve provided a great frame for me as I prepare to head to conference. The idea of spaciousness – the time and space to be present with one another and God – has me eager to be there. The hymn that came to mind first is one that I usually flip past in the hymnal, “We are climbing Jacob’s Ladder.”

Leave a Reply