August 16, 2018
The Virginia Annual Conference met earlier this summer in Hampton Roads. We told you a bit about it, because that’s when we said goodbye to our former associate pastor Matt Sergent. Matt was fully ordained at the conference and left in July to take the reins at Andrew Chapel UMC in Vienna.
But that’s not all that happened at this annual gathering of Virginia Methodists. We recently spoke to Galilee lay leader David Turner about his experience at Conference, and what his role at Galilee is.
Cindy and David Turner with former associate pastor Matt Sergent in Hampton Roads.
Galilee: How was Annual Conference this year?
David Turner: The highlight of the conference for me was the opportunity, along with so many others, to attend the ordination of Pastor Matt. His faith, dedication, hard work, and selfless service all led to this remarkable event.
Beyond that, Pastor Tom Berlin (Galilee’s mentor in the Next Level Innovation process) gave an opening talk on the Commission on a Way Forward. Pastor Tom is one of 32 members of this commission, which aims to bring people with differing views together to create possible revisions to the Book of Discipline on the issue of human sexuality. More than that, they are proposing options for the church going forward. Tom discussed the commission’s process, and he was very concerned that we foster a respectful and loving approach to dealing with this potentially divisive topic. It was a powerful message about how we should approach matters where we disagree with others.
This conference was also my first opportunity to see Bishop Sharma Lewis, who is the bishop for the Virginia conference. I found Bishop Lewis to be an inspired leader who leads with faith, passion, and intellect. After hearing her speak, you feel a rejuvenated spirit and the empowerment to drive ministry forward.
Bishop Sharma Lewis
Galilee: Why is it important for lay leaders to attend Annual Conference?
David: I believe it is important to remember that Galilee is part of a larger, connected church. In addition to the open sessions at the conference, there is value in meeting or reconnecting with clergy and laity from other churches. We discuss how churches have grown, where they show strength, or how they deal with challenges similar to our own. This helps put perspective to Galilee’s future.
Galilee: What does the role of lay leader mean to you?
David: Lay leader is a unique role in that it encompasses a wide variety of areas of Galilee and sometimes outside of our own church. So often we can get very deep in the details of our various ministry areas, such as ministry council or trustees. As lay leader, I have the privilege and opportunity to take a step back and look at how decisions fit in to the broader mission of our church.
Galilee: Where do you see our church headed in the next few years?
David: It is an exciting time at Galilee! In all of my years, I believe that more of our ministries are coming together than ever before. Earlier this summer, we commissioned a team to go to Costa Rica for the second consecutive year. Outside, on a part of church property that has been sitting fallow for years, we are actively harvesting vegetables from the Galilee Gift Garden. These are two ready-at-hand examples of service, both locally and in the world.
It’s back to school time. We now have a Christian preschool in its third year that has a wait list for the fall session.
Next Level Innovations is going to create even more opportunities going forward, as we revitalize our facilities, reinvigorate worship, reimagine our relationship with ministry partners in schools and communities, and more. We have a balanced plan that takes an intentional approach to our ministry for the next several years. What’s on deck? More outreach and greater relevancy to our community through the faithful application to this plan.