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mark elder

Local church connection and district:
Fairlington UMC, Northern Virginia District

Guiding scripture leading into General Conference:
Jeremiah 29:1  For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Favorite paragraph of the Book of Discipline (we all have one, right?): 

From Part IV, Section VI:   “We recognize that God made all creation and saw that it was good.  As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidences of God’s grace to the unity of the Church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus’ ministry to all persons.   Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the Church, the community, and the world; therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination.”

A brief statement on your call to serve as a delegate:

My work in the Virginia Annual Conference has been on reconciliation, enlarging those who are represented in the United Methodist Church’s family, for Christ’s table is surely big enough for all.  When the UMC formed in 1968, in part a central tenet was to expand inclusion, addressing racial segregation by abolishing the all-black Central Jurisdiction and empowering female leaders in the church by ensuring ordination and full clergy rights for women.  But from the start, the new UMC has taken repeated actions that sowed disunity by discriminating on the basis of race, gender, and sexual orientation.   2024 General Conference provides an opportunity for the UMC to try once again to strive for unity in diversity, set aside 50 years of quadrennial infighting, and cast a new vision for the denomination.

Specific prayer request(s) for the work ahead:

Prayers for the spaces where General Conference work occurs to be relational, loving, and spirit-filled and devoid of meanness and attempts to harm when we disagree.

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