Two extraordinary movements of the Holy Spirit this Christmas




Sisters and Brothers in the Florida Conference,
 
Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate!
 
I give thanks for your faithful witness to this good news, for the many thousands of acts of love, justice, worship, mercy and intercession offered in service to God and shared with our neighbors.
 
I want to rejoice in two extraordinary movements of the Holy Spirit among us this Christmas.
 
First, thank you for your generous offering on behalf our sisters and brothers in the Alabama-West Florida Conference who experienced the devastation of Hurricane Michael in the panhandle in September. We invited our churches to receive an offering for them. The people of First UMC in Ormond Beach challenged us with a $500,000 matching gift. I am overjoyed to announce that you have contributed an additional $887,383 toward the needs of our brothers and sisters in the Panhandle. This gift will be sent the first week of January 2019.
 
Second, I also want to share the good news that we have received approval for the establishment of a United Methodist Church in the Lowell Correctional Institution, located in the community of Reddick in the North Central District. Lowell houses more than 2300 women and is considered to be the largest female prison in the United States. I can envision the lives of women being blessed by the gifts of Christian fellowship and worship and the presence of a pastor who will be a sign of the Good Shepherd’s love for them.
 
In my role as President of the Council of Bishops, I shared a Christmas Letter to our global church entitled “A Peaceable Kingdom in a Divided World.” You can access that letter here.
 
Pam and I wish for you God’s gifts of hope, peace, joy, love and light at Christmas. We consider it a great blessing to serve with you as followers of Jesus. Indeed, the word has become flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1. 14).
 
Merry Christmas!


 
P.S. I intentionally wrote this message so that it would be short enough to share in your worship on the Sunday before Christmas or Christmas Eve. Thank you for sharing!
 
 

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