by Dan Gangler*
AKRON, Ohio – “Keep on Walking” was the theme of Bishop Julius C. Trimble’s sermon Wednesday afternoon, July 18 during the opening communion worship of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Akron.
Using Luke 24:13-35 (the Emmaus passage), he said, “Not much will happen if we stop walking, stop moving, stop praying, stop talking, stop listening, stop dreaming and stop risking.” ‘
He went on to say that there are at least nine verbs describing movement. “The movements are not meaningless, they point to community and communion, resolve and revelation… This is a Holy Spirit moment – the Walk to Emmaus.
“The absurdity of some of our self imposed limitations – we often find ourselves stuck, not for lack of giftedness, resources or opportunity, but an unwillingness to move with enthusiasm.”
He then gave reason why bishops, delegates and guests have come to Akron:
· Children are still dying of Malaria and the challenge to focus on vital congregations is more urgent than ever.
· We have ministries to support with a Jurisdictional budget, a new Episcopal Area to affirm, a retirement to celebrate and nominations to confirm.
· We can decide…to lead the charge to help Imagine No Malaria by raising millions to reach our $75 million goal as a denomination by 2015.
· We can decide to maximize this movement and walk together in response to disasters and learn from each other as we focus on new places for new people…
Keep walking together – not away from the hard places, not away from those on the margins, not waya from really we don’t always agree with.
He concluded: “Let’s keep walking together remembering the heart of our ministry is Christ’s ministry of outreaching love.”
During the Communion service, the late Bishop Sheldon Duecker of Indiana was remembered along with Bishop Edsel Ammons and Bishop James S. Thomas, three bishops who have died since the past NCJ Conference four years ago.
The first plenary business session followed.
*Rev. Dan Gangler is the Communications Director of the Indiana Annual Conference