Many of the members of the Southeast Conference have heard me speak about my call to serve this Conference as pastor and teacher and to lead the Conference in a process of visioning, planning, and preparing a road map for the future. My title is Designated Conference Minister because I was called to a designated term of three years.
I began my second year of that term in March. I am pleased to report that much needed administrative work has been done by standing committees of the Board of Directors and staff to place the Conference in a healthy organizational place so that we may proceed with the primary tasks I have been called to on behalf of the Conference. I am excited to begin to work with individuals, congregations, and leadership as we are engaged in the work of transformation to meet the needs identified and those that will emerge AND share the gifts of leadership and resources and creativity that are so abundant in our midst.
I am pleased that the Annual Meeting Planning Task Force is working with a three year theme arc that began last year with “For Such a Time as This” from the book of Esther. This theme provided us an opportunity to reflect on our past, present, and future. This year the theme (yet to be determined) will be based on Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” We have much work to do in the Southeast Conference as we move into the future that God envisions for our churches and our ministries. I hope that as we move into this visioning process, you will add your voice and your creativity to the process. Then we will have the opportunity to honor the laborers in the vineyard next year as we celebrate our 50th anniversary as a Conference of the United Church of Christ.
I used the word transformation earlier in this article. But I have been thinking about transfiguration. Very similar ideas but the concept of transfiguration is that our very being is infused with God’s presence. And that presence shines brightly for the whole world to see. As we live out Easter and our reminder that we are Resurrection People given new life, may we also see that new life as an opportunity to let our light shine that the whole world may see God’s love for all creation, Christ’s call to serve, and the presence of the Spirit in all that we do and say.