Remarks made by Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. when presenting the fifth Bishop's Award at the 2013 Annual Conference Session, Friday, June 21.
In the 10th Chapter of Luke, the story of the Good Samaritan, when the lawyer asks Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus answers him, "The one who showed mercy," and commands the lawyer to "go and do likewise." Here is another story of "See what you have, See your neighbors too."
This morning, we honor a powerful person of prayer. When things get difficult, as they sometimes do in life, this disciple stops and calls those around them to prayer. This disciple places Christ at the center of life and moves forward into the world with vision and power.
In the local church, this lay person serves as the senior services coordinator for a program funded by the Beulah Fund, and offered to senior citizens who attend a center that is co-sponsored by Catholic Charities and her United Methodist Church. In this capacity she has put together Bible Study and spent hours sitting with the seniors of the church community.
On Wednesday and Thursday nights, you can find this dynamic disciple in the local church's food pantry that has distributed over 4 million pounds of food to feed the hungry in San Francisco. Not only is food offered each week, but a healthy dose of friendship and dignity too.
This witness to Christ's love pours her life and love into her faith community into her large extended family and out into the greater city of San Francisco. She is a spark plug in her local church's community cohort which includes community service providers from across San Francisco.
This laywoman's powerful commitment to the radical inclusivity of the Gospel has driven her to be a key leader in the creation of the Bay Area Immigration Task Force, which now offers free legal counsel to our immigrant sisters and brothers across the annual conference. She has traveled across the country building relationships and working to build the Immigration Law Clinic, helping to raise funds, write grants, and to spend long hours building volunteer teams to do the work of the clinic, which now spreads from Sacramento to San Jose.
My brothers and my sisters, one who has seen her neighbors is Belinda Robinson of Temple United Methodist Church in San Francisco. Belinda enters ministry with the force of a Pentecostal wind. She comes strongly out of her African American context to as a partner in the multicultural ministry at Temple United Methodist Church creating partnerships in Christ wherever she goes.