December 1, 2017

Dear Colleagues/Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What a challenging and exciting time in both the world and the church to be celebrating God’s coming to earth in human form and that Jesus will come again.  I pray we who lead worship, preach, teach Advent Studies, make hospital/nursing home visits, calm the jitters of choirs and program participants will also find the time and the quiet to experience the wonder of God’s love anew this year.

I wanted to let you know that the Executive team of the National Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors has been at work on your behalf and on behalf of the United Methodist Church.  Recently, your Communications/Website Chair, Will Clark has redesigned the Fellowship website and is making information and communication more readily available with Exec team input and help( Dues, donations and registration fees can now be given online!!!!  The Exec team has met via Facebook this past month and are working on the details for next year’s annual meeting, continuing discussion on legislation and additional methods for “keeping in touch” with the larger body of Associate Members and Local Pastors within the UM connection.  Our plans for an online meeting have gotten delayed, but will be happening within the next 6 weeks.  It is the plan of the Exec team to have the general details for the Annual Meeting announced by mid-January and online registration available by end of March.

You can find contact information for all of the Executive Team members on the website and I encourage you to contact me or any other member with questions, ideas, concerns and encouragement.  I hope that you will pray for your Exec team as each is volunteering their time to do the work of the Fellowship and have families, churches and personal lives that demand their attention first and foremost.

I believe strongly that Local Pastors and Associate Members are becoming more and more vital to the wellbeing and continuity of the United Methodist Church.  Having said that, I encourage each of us to keep the mission of Jesus, paraphrased by John Wesley, at the forefront of our thoughts, words and deeds: Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.

As we live into the season of Advent 2017, I pray that God’s spirit will fill you with the Word for the people God has called you to serve and that in so doing you will find yourself hearing the same old scriptures in new and powerful ways.  I pray too, that this same spirit will entice the people who hear to go and spread that good and powerful news to a confused and divided world.  May the good news go forth with urgency, hope and joy through the people who know that the coming of Jesus in His fullness will right all wrong, heal all ills and usher in life to its full.

With sincerity and joy,

Gwen Wolford, NFAMLP President