Welcome to a brand new Conference Year. First, let me thank all of you for the work that you did last year and previous.  We have made much progress, but there is much to be done.  As we move through this year, our concentration will be on service and being a willing servant.  This must mean that we are willing to serve our community, members of our family, and those who are of the household of faith.  We must use Jesus as our model when he took a towel and girded himself and washed his disciples’ feet.  “So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” JN 13:4 NLT

This was the ultimate act of humility, and Jesus made it clear that he came not be served but to serve.  If we are Disciples of Christ, which we are, we must become servants who are willing to serve with pleasure.  We have the opportunity to serve in our community and surrounding areas.  Petersburg has been designated as one of the unhealthiest cities in Virginia.  This gives us the opportunity to serve by educating residents on how to be proactive when it comes to their health.   By doing this, we will help to eliminate health disparities and help residents to enjoy a longer and healthier life.  We will become a resource center for those who are not aware of the services that are available to them.

Our service will also include getting our youth and children involved in reading. They will spend more time at the library. Youth leaders will provide leadership for activities that will involve helping children and youth with their school work by providing individual and/or group tutoring.
We will also be able to serve our community by applying for funding through our newly reinstated 501c3 Corporation.  In our effort to serve, we will investigate ways in which we will be able to secure funding for startup and continued service to the community.

By studying God’s Word in Bible Study, Church School, and individually daily, our congregation will experience steady spiritual growth.  As a result of our spiritual growth, we will be able to follow the commandment of Jesus to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves.  As we grow spiritually, we will be equipped to reach out to those who are unchurched and encourage them to become churched.  Jesus commanded us to “go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.” Matt. 28:19
I ask that each one of you will pray that we will continue to have God’s favor upon us as we move forward with our construction project and that we will not become discouraged along the way.  If God is for us who can be against us!

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  2 Cor. 5:7