How to Build an Integrated Future
Now that the Vision Proposal has been affirmed at the Annual Gathering, I have been pondering the next steps toward creating a unified structure. If you were at the Gathering or have been following the work of the Vision Team, you’ll know that the proposal consists of a vision for a collaborative future, but does not provide a detailed plan on how to get there. That’s the work that’s at hand now.
The members of the Vision Team are willing to continue in their roles, but we all agree that it’s time to connect with the governing bodies of each of the associations and the conference. That will allow us to build relationship and become more familiar with the various ministries and initiatives across the entire region. Only then can we identify the best opportunities for collaboration.
It is certainly possible for the Vision Team working groups to continue their efforts and gather the appropriate people from within each of the associations. However, without input and guidance from the leadership teams of the associations, it seems likely that these efforts might cause confusion, or worse yet, lead to resistance in some quarters.
Consequently, with the consent and encouragement from the Vision Team, Transitional Conference Minister Dave Long-Higgins and I plan to convene a series of meetings. The first meeting will bring together the executive committees (or their equivalent) from each of the four associations and the conference. This meeting will occur in February, 2019, with the objective of identifying the ongoing missions, ministries, and initiatives of each, and discern which offer the best opportunities for collaborative effort. The Vision Team has already offered some initial thoughts regarding what has the most potential, but it’s time to get input from the elected leadership within the associations and the conference.
After this first meeting, it will be time to gather employed staff from all the associations and the conference. The goal is to hold this meeting before the end of the first quarter. Staff will reflect on the conclusions reached by the executive teams and will consider how to begin implementation.
I hope that these meetings will lead to a clearer path toward the goal of a nimble and responsive judicatory that is faithful in mission and responsible in stewardship. It will be interesting to discover the new insights that arise from these conversations.
The third group that we hope to gather are the entire governing bodies of the four associations and the conference for a retreat that will occur in the late summer. I don’t have a clear picture of the content of this meeting, as yet, but I do believe that it’s important that these groups of leaders get acquainted with one another and share their plans for the future.
Please continue to pray for the Vision Team and for Dave Long-Higgins and me as we work toward a unified future. Our Vision is that we are gathered in Christ to heal, reconcile and restore the world by nurturing Spirit, awakening gifts, loving neighbor, and serving communities. We are convinced that we are stronger together and that our collective efforts will allow us to be more effective in bringing Christ’s loving presence to the communities of which we are part.
Blessings and peace,
Moderator, Ohio Conference