Convergence Sunday

This Sunday is a convergence of various themes in the life of the church: Trinity Sunday, Aldersgate Sunday, and Heritage Sunday.

Last Wednesday the clergy of the North Texas Conference met to officially approve those who have been recommended for ordination and commissioning as clergy, as well as celebrate those retiring from the ministry- and other clergy business. This was the final clergy session of the North Texas Conference, as our conference will be merging with the Northwest and Central Texas Conferences later this year. We will become the unified Horizon Texas Conference at a special called meeting in September in Abilene. It was fitting that the annual clergy session took place the same week as Heritage Sunday and Aldersgate Sunday.

Aldersgate Sunday commemorates John Wesley’s experience of having his heart “strangely warmed” at a worship service on Aldersgate Road in London. This moment of renewal and transformation was vital for the creation of the Methodist movement (Charles Wesley, John’s brother, had a similar experience at nearly the same time). Here’s a prayer for Aldersgate Sunday:

Almighty God, in a time of great need
you raised up your servants John and Charles Wesley,
and by your Spirit inspired them to kindle a flame of sacred love
which leaped and ran, an inextinguishable blaze.
Grant that all those whose hearts have been warmed at these altar fires,
being continually refreshed by your grace, may be so devoted
to the increase of scriptural holiness throughout the land
that in this our time of great need,
your will may fully and effectively be done on earth as it is in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Heritage Sunday is observed in late May to correspond with Aldersgate Day, May 24. This day calls The United Methodist Church to honor its heritage by committing itself to the continuing call of God known and spread by Charles and John Wesley, along with others the early Methodist movement reached and with whose denominations we are all joined as The United Methodist Church. Here’s a prayer for Heritage Sunday:

Almighty God, you have raised up servants

to proclaim the gift of redemption and a life of holiness.

For our spiritual forebears,

Susanna, John, and Charles Wesley;

Barbara Heck, Jacob Albright,

Philip William Otterbein, and Martin Boehm,

inspired by your Spirit, we give thanks.


In their ministry, through their difficulties,

and in spite of their weaknesses,

you were their hope and their salvation.

You led them and their followers to create the heritage that is ours.


We praise you for the women and men, young and old,

who followed them,

who gave themselves unselfishly for the welfare of the Church,

whose commitment and vision encouraged

and supported the Church.


Their talents, enthusiasm, idealism, and dedication

infused the Church with energy.

Their outstanding gifts and witness shaped our thought and life.

We praise you for these countless members of your Church,

whose names we now remember.


{Silence is kept to remember the names of saints. Pause here to reflect and give thanks for those who helped form you in faith: pastors, teachers, mission trip leaders, youth, etc}


And we give you thanks for the place of our rich tradition

among the churches which comprise the Body of Christ.

With all your people throughout creation,

give us a new vision, new love, new wisdom,

and fresh understanding,

that we may serve you more fully;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


I was first ordained a Deacon in the UMC in 1998, and an Elder in 2001. I transferred my clergy membership to North Texas Conference in 2002. Every time a new ordination class is received, I remember the joyous feeling of being welcomed into that covenant. Every time a retiring class is celebrated, I anticipate my own retirement, when clergy will show their appreciation for the service of those in my class. I remember those clergy now part of the Church Triumphant. All of this is the work of God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. 

Which brings us to Trinity Sunday

Our Triune God is relational. There is something beautiful about divine mystery being expressed in such a simple term as “relational.” God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit are beautifully entangled in a relational dance, reminding us that God’s very nature is communitarian. The nature of God challenges our individualist orientation and speaks prophetically to our culture’s glorification of personal agency and individual sovereignty. If our God is at once individual and communal—One in Three—then we are called to mirror that dynamic in our own lives. Being a disciple of Christ cannot happen in solitude. Spiritual formation and growth do not happen alone. No matter how “one” we think we might be, we are always “more” because of our call to live, to be, and to grow in community. We are individuals, but as children created in the image of our Triune God, that means we were created for relationship.

A Prayer for Trinity Sunday

Loving God, you sent your son Jesus

to lead us in faith to everlasting life.

Give us new birth by water and the Spirit

so that we may enter your eternal realm;

through Jesus Christ our Savior,

and in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, forever and ever. Amen