We’re counting down the days to this year’s Annual Gathering which will be held at Westerville Community UCC on September 28-29, but there’s still time to register. You can find the schedule and register by clicking HERE. Even if you’re not a delegate, there are lots of reasons you will want to make the trip. Here are my top 5:
1. Meet our new Transitional Conference Minister – Rev. David Long-Higgins began in this new role with the Conference on September 1 and is looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Some of you already know Dave from his twenty-two years as pastor at David’s UCC in Canal Winchester, as he has been active in the Central Southeast Ohio Association and the Ohio Conference during that time. Dave has also been involved with the wider church, most notably serving on the Global Ministries Board for the past nine years, three years on the Wider Church Ministry Board, and two years on the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ.
2. Learn about the Vision Team Proposal – The Vision Team is proposing that we begin a journey toward a unified setting of the church rather than the separate associations and conference that exist today. On Friday afternoon, you will be able to talk with members of each of the three working groups about their recommendations for “Shared Practices,” “Structure,” and “Stewardship and Finance.” The Vision Team proposal will be a key business item on Saturday.
3. Experience the music of Ken Medema – Ken Medema is a talented musician who will be sharing his gifts with us throughout the gathering and most notably in a concert at 7:30 on Friday evening. Like the gathering itself, the concert will be at Westerville Community UCC and is open to the public. A free will offering will be collected for the Poor People’s Campaign. HERE is more information about Ken and his musical invitation to AG.
4. Be inspired by Rev. Starsky Wilson – Rev. Wilson will deliver the keynote “Blow the Trumpet” on Saturday morning. Starsky is pastor of Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community) in St. Louis, MO, and also is president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation of St.Louis. He is also the chair of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. He is a gifted speaker and we’re excited to have him on the agenda for the Annual Gathering.
5. Cultivate Relationships – Come and rekindle old relationships and forge new ones! This is one of the most important reasons to participate in events like this beyond the local church. Relationships across congregations allow “cross-pollination” of good ideas and create partnerships that make us more influential and effective, something that is ever more important given the divisive cultural trends today.
I hope to see you and others from your church at the Annual Gathering later this month.
Blessings and peace,
Moderator, Ohio Conference