A Letter from the Moderator

Published on Nov 20th, 2015 by wpd-office | 0

District Conference Theme for 2019: “Seek first the kingdom…”


Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Western Plains District,

Grace and peace to you in the name of the One Who is, Who was and Who is to come–even Jesus Christ our Lord!

It is no secret, and I share nothing new in stating, “We live in a broken, frayed and divided world.”  No doubt such sentiment could be and has been stated more eloquently.  Of course, on one level this is nothing new as the entirety of human existence has experienced this as its ever-present and continuing bane.  However, in our day, it almost seems a heightened reality that we pursue a life apart from one another while making sure that our defense mechanisms are in place that keep us safe from enemies near and far.  Thus, much energy is spent on assessing allies and adversaries in order to preserve our safety and insuring victory over foes who hold malevolent intention toward us.

Perhaps, we should not find it surprising that such a perspective has found its way into the life of the Church.  This is present in both denominational and congregational levels.  Issues, agendas, and labels too often and too easily separate God’s people; and the excessive yearning of our Lord for unity, with and among his people, becomes a necessary casualty.  What I believe is lost in all of this is how unity is central to the Church’s witness to the world about it (John 17:20-21).

Amidst this atmosphere comes a desire within the Church of the Brethren, and from this year’s Annual Conference, to pursue a “Compelling Vision” beyond what might otherwise keep us at more than “arm’s length” from one another.  This desire is so keenly felt that a suspension of new business will be observed at next year’s Annual Conference.  May it be our prayer that the Holy Spirit bring guidance and wisdom to the work and effort of this Compelling Vision.

Yet can we move forward with so much seemingly pulling us apart?  I believe so. I am trusting God that we can.  The provision of the Holy Spirit, God’s very presence and life in, with and among us, ever keeps the promise and vision of unity before us.  But what of our response–our yearning, our seeking toward this end?  From Jesus’ masterful sermon found in Matthew’s gospel, we find these words:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.  (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
In these words, I believe, Jesus gives us the desire of our hearts’ yearning.  We were created to live in the kingdom of God.  This is the fulfillment of our purpose and reason for being.  This is the yearning deeply implanted in the human heart.  Though there are many ways and things we pursue in fulfillment of that yearning: wealth, success, pleasure, comfort–all agendas and outcomes–that yearning remains.  For nothing can fill that yearning but the kingdom.

Oh, my beloved brothers and sisters, may it be our priority that we together pursue to “Seek first the kingdom…” Oh! What could be if we do so?!


In Christ,

Keith Funk
WPD Moderator

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