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An incredible day, for sure!

THURSDAY, May 19, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference,

Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS

Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata, Phoenix Episcopal Area, presides over the May 19 plenary session of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS.

Highlights

  • I was asked to preside over the morning plenary. It was a privilege to do so.
  • Seeing friends and colleagues from around the connection. It is a small world!
  • Hearing of ways our United Methodist Church touches lives, transforms communities, all in the name of Jesus Christ. Included in this was a celebration of our nearly completed denominational Imagine No Malaria goal.

Due to the decision yesterday to accept the Bishop’s Plan for A Way Forward, all legislation having to do with human sexuality was deferred. I sat in a meeting of the Agenda Committee for the General Conference as the committee determined which pieces of legislation would be deferred. It was not always an easy decision! Then, as I sat in the plenary session, I realized how the decision to defer those matters actually freed us to consider many other petitions and resolutions that are important, but which may never have been even considered because of the lack of time.

Photo by Bishop Bob HoshibataNot having the threat of deep conflict, this allowed the General Conference to take a deep breath together for the first time in a long, long time. I felt the room lighten up. Maybe this was more Holy Spirit at work.

Receiving The Peace Cross, given to each delegate at General Conference. Symbolic of the separation of families that continues because of the lack of a true peace between North Korea and South Korea, the cross and its base actually separate. Held together by a magnet, the cross and its base can be joined again as a metaphor for the deep hope that the two Koreas might someday be reunited.

Tomorrow is the last day of General Conference. I am hoping nothing happens legislatively that would block the Bishops’ Plan from proceeding! That will be in my heart and prayers tomorrow.

Keep praying!

With thanks,

Bishop Bob Hoshibata

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