It Is About What We Do For The Kingdom

     Last week I attended the Annual Conference session of the Minnesota Annual Conference. It was a good time...for the most part. I enjoy getting together with colleagues, friends I do not see that often. We heard reports, and debated several pieces of legislation. Of course, it was the legislation that was debated and acted upon that received the most ink...and stirred the most discussion and controversy.

But there was more. You might not have heard about this.

     "Million Meals Marathon." At the start of 2014, the Minnesota Annual Conference launched the "Million Meals Marathon". The goal was to pack one million meals through the ministry of Feed My Starving Children. Packing sites were set up around Minnesota: Mankato, Rochester, and Duluth. Meals were also packed at the Annual Conference session. By the end of Annual Conference 1,551,723 meals had been packed. To say the goal was exceeded would be an understatement. Meals will continue to be packed throughout the rest of the year.

     The hungry are being fed. This is evidence of the Kingdom of God.

     "Imagine No Malaria." In 2008, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church set as a goal the raising of seventy-five million dollars to combat Malaria in Africa. At that time a child was dying every thirty seconds from Malaria. The money raised would be used to purchase bed nets and provide vaccines. Each Annual Conference was invited to make a contribution to "Imagine No Malaria".

     So the Minnesota Annual Conference established a goal. We determined to raise 1.8 million dollars to help with the prevention this disease. By the end of the 2014 Annual Conference session...we had raised 2.2 million dollars. Minnesota is one of two Conferences to raise over two million dollars. Malaria deaths have gone from one child every thirty seconds to one child every sixty seconds. Obviously, there is still a long way to go. But progress is being made.

     The sick are being healed. This is evidence of the Kingdom of God.

     I felt I needed to share this. As I said, there were some issues that were vigorously debated...especially seven pieces of legislation dealing with human sexuality. This is what the press picked up on and reported.

     But there was so much more. The United Methodist Church is bringing food to the hungry and healing to the sick. The United Methodist Church is giving witness in word and deed to the Kingdom of God. And I am proud to be a part of this church.