September 30, 2013
Hello New England Conference!
It is an honor and blessing to serve with you in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ for such a time as this.
Since September 1, I have met with several groups, including the Conference Council on Youth Ministry, Council on Leadership, The Rolling Ridge Board, Conference Council on Finance and Administration, the Strategic Planning Team, and the Response and Intervention Steering Committee. I have met with our conference staff responsible for congregational development, camp and retreat ministry, missions, Latino ministry, and communications. I have interviewed potential site directors for Covenant Hills Camp. I played, planned, strategized and dreamed with members of the Cabinet, Strategic Planning Team, consultants, and individuals deeply committed to serving God together in the UMC. I traveled with a team of 10 clergy, laity, and our Bishop, to Maryland to join in Vital Conversations with our partners in Baltimore-Washington and West Virginia, led by the General Commission on Religion and Race, focused on reaching more people, more young people, and more diverse people. I have begun planning for 2014 pre-Lenten clergy gatherings, and the Annual Conference session in June. And I joined with you in cheering on the Revolution Soccer team as we raised money for and awareness of the Imagine No Malaria Campaign, a life-saving initiative of the UMC to end preventable malaria deaths in Africa. It has been an exciting and full month!
As a function of my role, I am in a variety of places and connected with many people throughout the connection. I often hear of valuable resources, events, opportunities, hints, tools, etc. that may benefit you in your ministry. I will post them here occasionally (no more than once per week) not to overwhelm, but to support you along the way. If you have suggestions, questions, comments, concerns, please post them here, or send me an email.
For now, I want to encourage you to hold up these questions before you at all times: “How are we intentionally meeting new people for Jesus Christ through our ministries?” And, “How are we helping new people grow and mature as disciples of Jesus Christ through our ministries and areas of responsibility?” According to our Book of Discipline, every standing committee, agency, board, and work area is to appoint a witness coordinator to ensure these questions are asked and answered (Par. 610, 2012 Discipline). I hope you will take this charge seriously as you engage in important work for the conference, district, in your local churches, and even as individuals within our UM connection. None of our work will matter much if we are not reaching new people and shaping disciples. I promise to hold up these same questions for myself and our conference staff as we work alongside you, and ask that we be in prayer for one another.
I am so grateful to be a part of all that God is doing in the New England Conference and pray God’s blessing upon you.
Connected in Christ,