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"Good News" President Offers Direction In Prayer After General Conference

Dear Friends:

Let me say a warm thanks to you for being a prayer partner with us prior to and during General Conference. We are convinced that the undergirding in prayer by so many of you was a major factor in the many good things that happened in Cleveland.

There were about 1,000 of you receiving our daily messages, prayer requests and notes of praise. As we have thought about this network, we believe that we should keep it intact for the weeks and months ahead. If for some reason you do not wish to receive frequent messages and prayer requests from us, just let us know and we will remove your name from our list.

The next issue of the magazine will be out in about two weeks or so and it will have full coverage of General Conference. Be looking for it.

Items about which you should be praying:

1. The many annual conference sessions going on. Some may be volatile. We have learned that the New England Annual Conference had a demonstration during the Clergy Session in which a group of pastors came forward and expressed their disagreement with what happened in Cleveland concerning the homosexuality issue. They asked for others to stand if in agreement and approximately two-thirds of the clergy stood in support of such a sentiment.

During one of the early sessions of the New England Annual Conference, someone read to the delegates a statement called The New England Declaration which states that those signing it are in disagreement with the church's stand on homosexuality. The 56 persons who signed said in the statement, "We commit to proclaim that homosexuality (no less or more than heterosexuality) is compatible with Christian teaching." It goes on to say, "As clergy we will preach this from our pulpits and expose our parishioners to the fullness of the Scriptural witness on related matters in our Bible studies." It went on to say, "As lay people we will teach it in our Sunday School classes and tell it to our children." It goes on to affirm same-sex covenants.

Needless to say, this is a disturbing report from that annual conference. Please be praying about this situation and about other conferences in which such actions could occur.

2. The above report reminds us that even though General Conference took firm action, it still remains to be seen whether the church has the will to enforce its standards on this issue. Be praying about the whole matter of accountability.

3. Be praying for our bishops who will need to give real leadership to the church as these kinds of challenges continue. Pray especially for Bishop William Oden, who is President of the Council of Bishops this year.

4. Be praying for the five Jurisdictional Conferences which will be held the week of July 10-15. The major purpose of these conferences is to elect new bishops. Please be praying daily for this process, remembering especially those who are candidates. Pray that delegates will discern the leading of the Spirit in the election process.

5. Be praying for the California/Nevada Annual Conference. There is still considerable turmoil in that conference with the possibility that other UM pastors may leave the denomination. Please bathe that whole situation in prayer. The annual conference out there begins on June 13.

6. Finally, pray that United Methodists won't become complacent after seeing a good and encouraging General Conference. We must remain vigilant. Pray that UMs all across the country will do just that.

Thanks for praying for our team in Cleveland. We sensed the prayer support and felt its impact, especially at 2:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. in the morning when we were finishing the daily newsletter for distribution early each morning. How the Lord helped us still alert, fresh, and with a good spirit amidst the busy days! That was answered prayer.

And thanks for praying regularly for Good News. Many of you have been doing that for years and I want you to know we are indebted to you and we thank God for you. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and give you peace. Amen.

In Christ,

Jim Heidinger

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