Annual Conference Begins with the Message “Discipleship is a Full Time Job”
The Frazer Family welcomed the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church on June 1, 2014. Frazer volunteers were on hand to welcome clergy and lay delegates and help them find their way around campus. For the opening worship service Sunday evening, a mass choir and orchestra led by Minister of Music Wayne Sigler combined Frazer singers and instrumentalists with those of many other churches, represented by a colorful assemblage of choir robes. Special music included songs celebrating the victory and kingship of God, including “Behold Our God” featuring Frazer’s mother-son duo of Liz and Patrick Craig.
The congregation was challenged to give an offering to Imagine No Malaria, the global UMC initiative to save lives and stop preventable illnesses due to malaria in Africa. According to the Conference Communication Office, to date over $525,000 has been collected for the cause from churches within our conference connection.
Bishop Paul Leeland introduced the speaker of the evening, Dr. J. Cameron West, President of Huntingdon College, noting that during his tenure Dr. West has intentionally steered the Methodist institution back to a closer connection with the church.
Dr. West shared the message that “discipleship is a full time job,” drawing from the teaching of Jesus and contemporary stories to illustrate how those who follow Christ must always be ready to carry on the healing work of God in the world. Jesus modeled the value of rest, West said, but He also demonstrated the willingness to give up His own rest in order to give rest to others. Church leaders will have the opportunity to put West’s message into practice as they gather for the remainder of Annual Conference to do the business of the church together, and as they return to their individual churches and communities to continue carrying out the mission of God.
West’s sermon was a fitting end to a day at Frazer which saw two Frazer families commissioned to serve overseas as full-time missionaries, and Pastors Tim Thompson and Patrick Quinn challenged the church to recognize that all of us who follow Jesus are in fact full time missionaries wherever we live and serve.
Photos by Frazer Volunteer Photographer Lee Werling. For a full gallery of additional images, visit Lee’s Flickr page.