The Conference Board of Directors met on May 17. A wide variety of topics were discussed of which these are the highlights.
Should we become the Heartland Conference? One of the recommendations the Vision Team made was that the conference should select a new name that would be inclusive for those churches that are part of the conference but are located in Kentucky and West Virginia. At our February meeting, Transitional Conference Minister Dave Long-Higgins suggested the name “Heartland Conference” which was the name that garnered the most support when the Vision Team asked for suggestions. After a favorable reception by the Board in February, Dave has been sharing this possibility in his travels and devoted his March pastoral article to this proposed name. The feedback has been very positive but there has not been a lot of it. The only hesitancy that has been expressed in a few places is that it is not a “geographical” name. As it turns out, we would not be alone if we were to choose a non-geographical name. Many UCC conferences are in seasons of reformulation (or maybe reformationJ) and that is often leading to non-geographical names. The name Heartland offers a theological framing of our life together rather than simply a geographical description.
After discussion, the Board voted to bring a resolution to the Annual Gathering in September recommending that the Ohio Conference officially become Heartland Conference. We are working on the necessary bylaw changes to proceed in the event that delegates approve the new name.
Outdoor Ministry Search: Vice Moderator David Plant reported on the work of the Search Committee that is seeking an Executive Director to lead our camp and conference ministries. The job description and compensation package for the position were approved by the Board at the May meeting. Kaleidoscope, inc. has been engaged to conduct the search on behalf of conference. To request an application packet, contact Kaleidoscope at OHUCC@kaleidoscopeinc.com. The goal is for the position to be filled by early fall.
The Hills Are Alive: The Board approved the updated plans for this new campaign to raise $350,000 for camperships and the next round of improvements at Templed Hills Camp. In addition to camperships, the focus areas are to reduce the carbon footprint at camp, make Skipper Lodge more hospitable for those with mobility challenges, and complete other improvements that will make camp more appealing to campers, churches, and outside groups. Stay tuned, because the campaign committee is planning for a June launch!
Vision Implementation Process: Since the last board meeting, our staff (association and conference combined) met together for updates and sharing about the priorities of the vision process, lifting up the four areas of focus that have been identified as next steps: Church and Ministry, Search and Call, Schools of Ministry, and Communications. Rubrics have been developed for each of these areas and are being reviewed with Association Ministers in preparation for this collaborative work.
This gives you an idea of the breadth and depth of the business discussed at our May meeting. There was much more on the agenda during this quarterly meeting of the Conference Board of Directors. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Blessings and peace,
Moderator, Ohio Conference