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Tears of joy (June 22, 2004)

Tears of joy (June 22, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Tears of joy

June 22, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0097}

NOTE:  A headshot of Whitaker is available at

An e-Review Commentary
By Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker**

During the 2004 Florida Annual Conference a member was walking alongside a young man from Bethune-Cookman College who said to her, "It has been raining a lot while you are here, hasn't it? I think these rain drops are tears of joy being shed by the saints from this place and Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune over our coming together at last."

There is a special spirit at Bethune-Cookman College given by God because of the faith of the founders of the college and those who have come after them, and we who were there for the 2004 Florida Annual Conference felt this spirit and were nourished by it.

There was joy at the 2004 Florida Annual Conference— 
   n  in our worship of the living God led by Marcia McFee;
   n  in our study of the Word of God led by Denise Honeycutt;
   n  in our evangelistic visitation in Daytona Beach led by "Celebrate Jesus" and Karen Taylor;
   n  in our fellowship with Bishop José Quipungo and his wife, Dr. Laurinda Quipungo, of East Angola;
   n  in our many banquets where we celebrated the work of the church and those who have been examples to the rest of us;
   n  in our thoughtful debate about important aspects of our connection and our embrace of new ways of ordering our life together;
   n  in our licensing, commissioning, and ordaining dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ to be spiritual leaders; and
   n  in our gratitude for the service of President Oswald Bronson of Bethune-Cookman College and President Tom Reuschling of Florida Southern College and our welcome to their successors; President Trudie Reed and President Anne Kerr, respectively.

I am hopeful about the future of The United Methodist Church in Florida because our heart is in the right place: we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission of the church of Jesus Christ to be a light to the nations. A church that is open to the Spirit, who creates in our hearts a love for God and for all people, will experience miracles, the surprising signs of God's reign in our midst. Let us pray for the coming of the Spirit and for the grace to receive the Spirit so there may be tears of joy in being the church of Jesus Christ in our time and place.


This commentary relates to the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Whitaker is bishop of the Florida Annual Conference.