My dear church community of faith,
What an energized positive annual gathering of the Ohio Conference we experienced June 10 – 11. The workshops, inspiring stories, theological reflections, and worship filled me with hope. Being in one place to fellowship, to be together, to learn, to be the church together was inspiring for me. You can see a few moments from the Annual Gathering above.
We are hoping that inspiration spills over into the work being done by covenantal partners begin meeting to discuss “how can we faithfully and sustainably serve the ministry needs of what we call the Ohio Conference.” A group met in Cleveland on Tuesday June 14, with representatives from different settings of the UCC — national, associations, conference and local church. We met with a mediator and began the important process of listening to one another.
There are some issues that this group will continue to work on including structural issues that include where and how OCWM monies are collected and how they are used; but other underlying issues such as trust, communication and fear are also being brought to the surface. The larger group of covenantal partners has split into smaller groups and will come back to the next meeting having brainstormed ideas and suggestions on what we can be as the wider church in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.
Please know that the Board of Directors are working hard at moving forward, while also working carefully to address issues that have arisen in the past and present. I invite you to remember that we didn’t get to where we are overnight, and it will take some time to work through all the issues of the past. The Holy Spirit is guiding us as we move forward into a different and inspiring future.
The inspiring stories shared at our Annual Gathering are giving me hope and energizing me right now. I pray that God will continue to guide us in the process as we listen to one another.