Called to Build

Brothers and Sisters,

The first thing I want to do is to give God thanks for his grace, mercy and love and for the privilege of his calling to share in his plans and purposes.

The theme I have chosen for this Conference is "Called to Build". The primary objective of this theme is to promote and support the "Called to Build" process throughout the Methodist Church The Gambia. In fulfilling this primary objective we will give special attention to the words of Jesus,

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." He called this "the greatest and first commandment". He also added that a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 38).

These words are Jesus' response when a lawyer asked him a question to test him…" which commandment in the law is the greatest." Many of us might be asking similar test questions, like:

•   Can the newly autonomous Methodist Church in the Gambia sustain itself?
•   Do we have enough money?
•   Do we have enough human resources?
•   Do we have what it takes to do mission?
•   Do we have the right buildings?
•   Do we have the right skills?
•   Do we have enough young people?

These are challenging test questions and the answers to them are not obvious.

But Jesus is saying to us, here in The Gambia, today: "Love God, and love your neighbour!"

This answer of Jesus encourages us to follow what is important and to live in the here and now concentrating our focus on what we can do rather than on what we cannot do.

We can all love God, we can all believe God; we can all surrender to God. It is essential to worship, pray, study and reflect on God’s word. We need a clear vision, and the vision is our calling to build God’s Kingdom, to build with him, to build his kingdom his way.

To love our neighbour as ourselves is more of a challenge, but with God’s help, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do it:

•   We can build each other up .
•   We can all share the best of who we are and what we have with others.
•   We can all share and live the good news of Jesus.
•   We can all bring good news to the poor.
•   We can all heal the broken hearted.
•   We can all set the captives free

We can all bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, like the fruits of love, joy peace, patience, and kindness—every day.

•   We can all build in unity.
•   We can all respect one another.
•   We can all together discern the will of God.
•   We can all listen to one another.
•   We can all encourage each other in our responsibilities and commitments.

To build God’s kingdom is about what we can do rather than what we cannot do.

In fulfilling our Call to Build, the Church will need to give attention to three key areas:

1.   Good practice and professionalism: We need to develop good practice and professionalism, in ordained
      ministry and in lay ministry alike; and we can do it.
2.   Creativity: We need to be more creative in all our work throughout the Connexion; and we can do it.
3.   Valuing all people: We need to value all age groups in our Church, young and old; and we can do it

May the Lord bless us, may the light of his face shine on us and may he look on us with kindness and give us his peace (Numbers 6:24).

The Most Reverend Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim

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