Last week I hitched a ride (13 hours through the night) to attend the General Conference of The Wesleyan Church in Orlando. (Nerd Alert!) The trip reminded me of why I love Wesleyans, and why I'm proud to call this my Church.
Most significant for me was the historic election of our first woman General Superintendent, Dr. JoAnne Lyon. Dr. Lyon is the founder of World Hope, which for the past 12 years has thrust itself into the fight against human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and other worldwide issues of social and spiritual injustice. I have a pretty good feeling we're about to be pulled in right behind her.
I was also moved by the passing of a bold statement on immigration. The strength of this statement (and the strength of the vote to pass it) were especially surprising for a few reasons: 1) We are in the throes of a heated Presidential election. 2) We are a Church that trends heavily toward conservatism. 3) The loudest voices of conservative thought would not be very happy with our stance on this. But these are not our theologians. As a Church, we now publicly declare that we are 'for' the outcast and oppressed, that we are 'for' the stranger, that we are 'for' those seeking refuge and hope, regardless of the political climate. Guided by the Biblical mandate of self-emptying love, we take a stand. Read the statement here on Keith Drury's blog (aka, the man who invented blogging).
I am proud of our history. The roots of the Wesleyan Church reach back to a small collection of courageous activists and abolitionists. They were 'for' freedom from slavery. They were 'for' equal rights for women (rights that stretch from the voting booth to the pulpit). They were 'for' the kind of heart holiness that wells up and runs over into the most mundane and magnificent expressions of mercy and grace. A movement born out of a great moment.
But here is the question. What is the next fight? What is our next great moment?
Maybe we are living in it now.
"May we see God's future Kingdom invading the present." -JoAnne Lyon