Jottings from June: November 1, 2016

Prepare Ye the Way!

juneboutwell-redbackgroundThe season of Advent will be an interesting time in the Conference office. It will be a season of preparing for a new way of being present to the ministries of the Southeast Conference. The Office and the Board will be in frequent communication with you as the next couple of months unfold.

First, please make note that our mailing address is now Southeast Conference United Church of Christ, Post Office Box 1950, Decatur, GA 30031-1950. There will be a mailing in the next week to every church and postings on the website and Facebook.

My designated term ends February 28, 2017. The Southeast Conference Board of Directors has an interim search committee that is doing their work in identifying an interim. The Board, in doing planning for the 2017 budget, has approved moving to a virtual office by the end of the year when our lease at First Congregational in Atlanta expires. Making sure this concept of virtual office is in place prior to talking with interim candidates is obviously very important as they will need to plan for an office in their home or some other arrangement. I will be setting up a home office in the next couple of months.

Our accounting firm, Revolution Financial Services, has been working with us over the past year to set up administrative systems to handle paying our bills, doing payroll, and receiving your contributions. They will have access to the post office box and we have worked out a system so that all non-financial related correspondence gets to the “office.”

We are also in the process of a digital file conversion project in which we are converting paper files to digital files to be stored in the cloud with multiple levels of access so that those leaders and volunteers who do the work of the Conference can have access to the documents they need whether it be Board documents, church files, minister files, or Commission on Ministry paperwork. We will be combining these files with the historical files that were digitally converted before Tim Downs retired. That will provide a complete filing system for the life of the Conference and allow access so that our geographically dispersed leaders can all work easily with the information they need to do the ministries of the Conference.

This all may seem strange to people who have always identified the Conference office in a physical location. The fact of the matter is that the Board and many committees have been meeting in a web based on-line meeting model for two years now. It is a shift but it does work well.  In a previous Conference ministry position, I was considered deployed staff. I had to learn how to set up meetings in local church space or at a coffee shop or over a meal. And staff will continue to meet regularly to make sure that they are serving the Conference in the best possible manner and communicating clearly with one another and all of you. Good ministry can happen without a physical address.

This will indeed be a season of preparation for a new way of living into the call we have to serve all God’s children through the example of the one who had no place to lay his head.