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2013 Annual Conference

June 21-23
The Hampton Roads Convention Center
Hampton, VA

Friday Evening: A Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion

The Rev. Clarence Brown.

A Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion was held Friday evening. Special music was provided by the York River Youth Choir. Alexandra Woody offered the Prayer for Illumination and read the Scripture from 2 Chronicles 20:1-9. 

The Rev. Clarence Brown, pastor of Annandale .MC, delivered the sermon, "A Can of P's." He said now that he is getting older, many names on the list have been personal friends and mentors. "These are the saints of God," he said. "They did all kinds of wonderful things that stayed with us. The did it in the face of a lot of diversity." Our saints opened up a can of something, Brown said. "t was a can of P's. A can that had loving things. It had some Preparation. If we follow our saints, we might prepare the people spiritually."

He talked about fasting "not to fit in a size 4 dress, but to make room for God." They prepared us intellectually. They prepared us culturally. "They prepared room at the table for everybody. We've got to get ready for people who don't speak English. We need to prepare for folks with tattoos and spiked hair and piercings," Brown said.

Jehoshaphat prepared for Prayer. "It's the most transformative of the spiritual disciplines," he said. "If I talk to God, I have tp believe He is there. If I believe God is always with me, I can't say all the things I used to say, I can't go all the places I used to go. I've got to change. I'd be transformed day by day as I pray. Prayer doesn't do something for God. Prayer does something for us," Brown emphasized.

Candles were lit in memory of those who died this
past year.

"We have spiritual amnesia. We've forgotten that God has brought us a mighty long way," he said. "When you don't know what to do, you do what you know. When you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result... you crazy," Brown said. "Prayer can transform our outlook. We are utterly and entirely dependent upon God. If we shut up for a moment, God might speak to us."

"What would the spirit of the Lord look like if it busted loose on some of our churches?" Brown asked. "Then the spirit of the Lord defines the tasks He wants the people to do."

Then  Jehoshaphat reached into the can and pulled out some Praise. "We just might think about all the good things that God has done and begin to praise God. And our saints praised God. They didn't just praise God with their lips. They praised God with their lives. They showed us what it

meant to be a follower of Christ." Every thought, every action, every reaction should be captive to Christ, he said. "When it comes to praising God, you don't have to jump a pew, but you ought to nod your head to know God that is in the building. And let people see your good works."

We need to show the joy, the unspeakable joy, Brown said. "Young folks might actually want to come."

"Our saints have left us a can of P's we can open again and again," Brown said. "We stop to say 'thank you' to God for all the wonderful men and women for the visions they cast, the churches they grew, the places they ministered to, lifting the word of God."

The Rev. Robert Blinn read the names of those who died this past year as a bell tolled for each life and a candle was lit.

The Rev. Thomas Crosby extended the invitation to Communion.

Communion was served during Friday evening's service.





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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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