The Aldersgate Covenant, a gathering of United Methodists for 20 hours of prayer and worship, provided “moments of inspiration” for participants from Louisiana.
The event, held May 16-17 at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, was hosted by a diverse group of leaders in The United Methodist Church who first proposed the Church’s mission statement 20 years ago. A desire for spiritual revival in the UMC prompted the gathering.
Rev. Juan Huertas, pastor of St. John’s UMC in Baton Rouge, served on the event’s Steering Team and gave the morning devotional on Saturday of the event.
Rev. Juliet Spencer, pastor for St. Andrew’s UMC in Baton Rouge, had this to share about her experience: “I went to the Aldersgate Covenant 20 Hours of Prayer with high hopes. I was not disappointed. Right from the outset, the rhythm of music, sermon, silence and small-group discussion (repeated three times) created the Spiritual space for deep reflection and for the Holy Spirit to ‘do its thing.’ We were offered that rare mix of individual time to connect and listen to God within the context of sacred community. For me, this combination was a balm to my soul.”
Rev. Ellen Alston, Superintendent for the Monroe District, wrote, “Never underestimate the power of creating or entering an open space, and leaning in to listen. That’s what happened when John Wesley went, as he recounts, ‘reluctantly, to a house on Aldersgate Street’ on May 24, 1738, and through scripture, prayer, and attentiveness to the Spirit, found his ‘heart strangely warmed’ in a deeper relationship with Christ.”
“There were so many moments of inspiration. Rev. Matt Miosfky set the stage with his observation that God will lead us, the church, into a new place. However, like the Israelites who wandered for 40 years on their way to the Promised Land, before God takes us to a new place, God desires to make us a new people. Even more to the painful point, God wants to make a new ME,” said Rev. Spencer.
Rev. Alston added, “Wonderfully gracious hospitality framed a rhythm of singing, preaching and prayer--from altar call, to silence and journaling to Tongsung Kido, corporate out loud prayer, led by Bishop Young Jin Cho of Virginia. There were circles of sharing around questions and promptings emerging among participants. Simple focus words--AWAKE…REPENT…ASK…WATCH... I love that they are verbs. They each speak to me in direct and powerful ways, especially in that constant need to drop MY agenda and to re-train my eyes on what GOD is doing, and what that requires of me.”