On February 24, as more than 800 United Methodist delegates from around the world gathered in St. Louis to discern the way forward concerning human sexuality in the life of our denomination, Raritan Valley United Methodists gathered at Wesley UMC in South Plainfield for a unity prayer service.
“Our District Superintendent Drew Dyson, one of our delegates to the Special General Conference, contacted me about a month ago to see if Wesley Church would be willing to host a district prayer service as the first day of legislation of the Special General Conference began,” said Rev. James Lee, pastor of Wesley. “I gladly obliged. It was also great to see how eager my colleagues were to participate in this meaningful prayer service.”
Rev. Ronell Howard of Christ UMC in Piscataway opened with a call to worship, Rev. Cameron Overbey of Cranford UMC led the body in a time of praying through different topics, Rev. Lakesha Groover of Covenant UMC in Plainfield led the Prayer of St. Francis, and Rev. William Williams III of First UMC in Westfield led Holy Communion.
The purpose of the service was simply to pray for unity in the Church, however, the pastors couldn’t help but call for love, peace, and inclusion. During Communion, Rev. Williams lifted up the gluten-free wafers as he declared: “And we also have gluten-free wafers, because at the Table of Grace, no one is excluded.” Rev. Lee shared a devotional on the Three Simple Rules to (1) Do no harm, (2) Do good, and (3) Stay in love with God: “During the Special General Conference and beyond, let us remind ourselves why we are Methodists and what it means to live out daily these three simple rules in the midst of our conversations on human sexuality.”