Prayer goes before much-anticipated Special Session on April 22

Prayer goes before much-anticipated Special Session on April 22

A card will be placed on seats at Central United Methodist Church on April 22 to let participants of the Special Called Session of Holston Annual Conference know they have been lifted in prayer.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- When the voting members and guests finally arrive at a much-anticipated Holston Conference gathering this Saturday, they will be stepping into a space that has been bathed in much prayer.

A “prayer walk team” will arrive at 8 a.m. on April 22 at Central United Methodist Church to walk around the premises, including pausing over every seat, to pray for the persons participating in the Special Called Session of the Holston Annual Conference. 

“There is no agenda other than to be in prayer with God, to invite him into the spaces and places and to help us blanket everyone in prayer,” said the Rev. Susan Arnold, Holston director of congregational development.

About 1,100 voting members (who were required to pre-register) are expected to attend. Attendance will also include guests and staff.
Central UMC is the hosting congregation.

The purpose of the special session is to process qualified requests for disaffiliations submitted by 264 of Holston’s 842 current local churches. The list of churches that have successfully met all requirements will be posted April 20.  

United Methodists have prayed for the special session over the last three weeks since the conclusion of the “Weekend of Prayer” March 25-26, Arnold says. During the second part of the April 22 special session, United Methodists will be invited to pray for Holston Conference’s future for the next 50 days.

At the Holston Annual Conference scheduled June 4-7 in Lake Junaluska, Holston members will have an opportunity to write down what they may have heard from God during those prayers.

Arnold has written a “Breakthrough Prayer” that has been shared through Holston Communications emails this week and that will be shared again on April 22:

Gracious God,
we know that you are with us and you are for us.
Together we pray:
* Pour out your Spirit upon Holston Conference to renew and revive us in new ways.
* Reveal where the Holy Spirit is leading us as a conference and as your people.
* Break through our barriers, opening new doors of dreams, hopes, and possibilities beyond what we know and can imagine.
* Grant us the courage to walk through the doors you are opening.
* Stir us to seek you first and root us deeply in your will and way.
* Renew, revive, and replant this conference (us), unleashing new and abundant life.
We look and wait expectantly for your will to continue to be done in (us) Holston Conference.
In Jesus’ name,

Registration opens for the April 22 session at 8:30 a.m. Worship begins at 10 a.m. followed by business. After a break, the “visioning for the future” part of the gathering begins at 11 a.m. The session is expected to conclude at noon.

After the conclusion, the prayer team will stay to pray for Central United Methodist Church, the hosting congregation, Arnold says.

The prayer team is serving with support from Holston Congregational Development and the Invitation Team and includes: Renni Morris, Becky Hall, Rev. Susan Groseclose, Rev. Kelly Acuff, Rev. Josh Kilbourne, Rev. Charles Kilbourne, Rev. Jerry Jones, Rev. Peter Kenny, Belinda Kenny, Rev. Tim Jones, Rev. Susan Arnold.

Central United Methodist Church is located at 201 East Third Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917. For more information, visit this link.

SEE ALSO: Returning to Central UMC for another emotional milestone 

Holston Conference includes member churches in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia, with main offices in Alcoa, Tennessee. Sign up for a free email subscription to The Call.


Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.

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