I's a people
by Kylee Ponder
As a Linguistics Major and someone who struggled painstakingly through a semester of ENG 304: Generative Syntax, offered by the illustrious and amazing Professor Ann Reed, “I’s a People” doesn’t follow my learned syntactical rules of the Traditional English language.
But daggone if it doesn’t express a sentiment of truth and love expressed so beautifully by the Bishop James E. Swanson on Saturday morning’s worship service at the Virginia United Methodist Annual Conference held in Hampton, Virginia.
I sat, Saturday morning, in awe of the energy and passion showcased by Bishop Swanson in the Convention Center Room sandwiched in between Rachel and my father. The three of us spent the next 30 minutes catching glances at each other with wide eyes and laughs of disbelief that yes. This is our church. Pride that yes. This is our church.
Bishop Swanson’s two sermons we heard on Saturday were interspersed with reunions with old friends, challenging moments of reality in which I realized the privilege I hold and the blessing of a worship community Boulevard UMC is, and a sea of familiar faces, from both Boulevard and beyond.
Those words uttered by Bishop Swanson on Saturday morning of “I’s a People” were a less than gentle reminder that we, the Church, are responsible for shaking things up. For taking on risks and challenging tradition. For being the types of people God has called us to be. Bishop Swanson so eloquently stated, Whether we like it or not, there is no way that through our own power and strength that we can ensure success in any enterprise we undertake. We must get used to taking risks and trusting the results into God’s own hands.
The theme of 2017’s Annual Conference was “A New Thing,” referencing the verse of Isaiah 43:19 – See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Bishop Sharma Lewis challenged the traditional ways in which Annual Conference has been “done” in the past and shook things up a bit. She did her own “new thing.”
It was such an incredible honor to spend my weekend amongst people like Bishop Lewis, Bishop Swanson, Rev. Rachel, and even my sweet father. I was renewed in the path I foresee our Church heading down and am so thankful to serve a Church community like Boulevard, one that celebrates “new things” all the time.