What joy- to weep as I helped Rev. Shirley Renee Franklin place a stole over our beloved Jefferson Furtado. Tears welled up as Margaret Williams placed the stole on Nancy Parker: linking us all again to her beloved Rev. Michael Williams, who now dwells with the Great Cloud of Witnesses- no doubt swapping tales with Jonah. It stills my soul to know the Hillcrest Van carried the church family from Harold Joyce’s funeral to Keri Cress’s ordination service. Andrew Joyce, who buried his father in the morning would not miss Keri’s ordination. I laughed repeating with Rocio: “Julie was the Salutatorian.” Fourteen years ago, I spent my entire Ash Wednesday at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, waiting to see if four year old Julie could survive 12 hours of surgery. Survive? How about “Salutatorian!” As the timer slide into overtime on John Pearce’s flawless CFA report, I smiled thinking of the hundreds of hours John has poured over TNAC spreadsheets and his text messages: “got a minute?” Thousands of such stories of Faith, Hope and Love strangely warmed our hearts as the Tennessee Annual Conference opened our time together! Today, as we vote, let us remember our Creator longs to write fresh stories through us.