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Leading the Laity: A Message of Encouragement

Posted: May 24 2023 at 05:26 PM
Author: Eugene Williams

Greetings on behalf of my conference co-lay leaders, Connie Augsburger and Mark Manzi, and the entire Board of Laity.


Annual Conference (our family reunion) is right around the corner. As we gather to conduct the business of the Northern Illinois Conference, we face a great deal of uncertainty because of all the issues we must consider.


We will be celebrating changes in appointments, ordinations, and retirements. We will be voting on budgets and legislation, particularly on some disaffiliation requests that will affect the very future of the Northern Illinois Conference.


As we address these concerns, we are also faced locally with the backdrop of newly elected mayors, unabated violence, the loss of several first responders, and decisions on how we will accommodate migrants and immigrants.


Across the nation we continue to see senseless mass shootings and neighbors being shot for simply knocking on a door or entering another’s yard to retrieve a ball. When law makers attempt to voice their concerns on how unfettered access to handguns might play a role in this gun violence; they are expelled from the legislature.


With these concerns making up just a small part of all that we face, it’s a wonder that we can maintain our sanity, let alone deal with high level decision-making. It would be so easy to become discouraged.


But siblings of the NIC, be ye ever encouraged in the work that you have done, are doing and will do for Christ. We must never tire of doing the work that Christ has set before us, because Christ never intended to build His church alone. He expects each of us to assist Him by being a force-multiplier for the building of the beloved community; our “kin-dom” here on earth. We cannot be distracted from our work because of uncertainty, confusion, fear, and unbelief. Unlike the disciple Thomas (Didymus), we are people of faith. We don’t need to see His hands or stick our fingers in the holes in His side. 


So, no matter the uncertainty, doubt, or fear regarding what might lie ahead, we know that Jesus is still on the throne! The songwriter Ira Stanphill says it best: “I don’t worry over the future, for I know what Jesus said. And each day I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”


Be encouraged indeed! May you have a blessed and productive 184th session of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference.

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