Susquehanna Conference, God’s New Thing

Today, clergy and lay members from more than 950 churches throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania gathered in Williamsport at the Williamsport Arts Center to form a new conference, the Susquehanna Conference, a Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church. It was the culmination of years of prayer, discernment, and planning.

Joleen and I left home around 6:30 a.m. and reached the Williamsport Arts Center about an hour and a half later, in time for registration and opening worship, which started at 9:30 a.m. After an hour of worship, we dealt with several action items related to the formation of the new conference.

The business portion of the day took nearly two hours. After lunch, the day concluded with an ordination service, which began at 2:30 p.m. and concluded between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m.

The Scripture focus in the years leading up to today’s uniting conference has been Isaiah 43, particularly 43.19 — “For I am about to do something new.” (Ironically, if I remember correctly, Isaiah 43 was also Bishop’s Middleton Scripture text for the sermon she preached at her installation in 2004.)

It was an historic day, a day of celebrating what God is doing in our midst!

By the way, Susquehanna is the name of a major river that runs throughout much of the conference, including here in Clearfield. In fact, when Rev. W. Lee Spottswood writes about the river and its importance in the community around 1860, he was referring to the Susquehanna River.

One of my favorite moments from the day was the band playing the music to “Sweet Home Alabama” but singing “Sweet home, Susquehanna … where the river is so blue.” 🙂

If you were there, please add your thoughts on the day and/or your favorite moments.

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