Moderator’s Message: February 15, 2017

“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: … A right time to plant and another to reap.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 2b, The Message)

February 12 – 19 is a significant week in my life. It’s when the memories of My Precious Mom, James Ella Reid Finney are ever present in most all I do. She died on the 12th, was buried on 15th, the anniversary of her and my father’s wedding is the 18th, and she was born on the 19th.  This week is even more significant to me because Covenant Community Church (UCC) where I pastor was founded on February 15, 1981.

Mom was kind of a Sage full of sayings that contained valuable life lessons. She always invoked one of those sayings when recognizing the extraordinary gift of ministry or service someone had rendered. She would say, “It’s always important to praise the bridge that brought you across.” So, allow me this opportunity to do just that as the first week of March will be a significant week in the life of our Southeast Conference.

The Southeast Conference owes a great debt of thanksgiving and gratitude to all of our previous Conference Ministers that have been part of the bridge that brought us across nearly 51 years of ministry. However, my tenure as a member of the Board of Directors and now as Conference Moderator and Board Chair has allowed me to see up close the tremendous value of the ministry and gifts of Reverend June Boutwell as our Designated Conference Minister. For the past three years, she has tirelessly provided us with much needed leadership and guidance pastorally, administratively and financially. Her devotion and efforts have poised our Conference to better meeting the future challenges of a constantly changing church.

The efforts she has planted will allow our incoming Interim Conference Minister, Reverend Marie Bacchiocchi, to reap the benefits of those efforts and began planting the seeds of her ministry to take our conference to a greater future.

So, on March 4th, at First Congregational Church in Atlanta, from 2:00 – 3:30 pm, I invite you (if you can) to join us for a “Conference Minister Transition Celebration” as we say farewell to Reverend June Boutwell. It’s an opportunity to paraphrase my Mom “praising her for being an essential element in the bridge that brought us across this last 3 years.”  And we will welcome Reverend Marie Bacchiocchi, as she begins her work on the bridge to carry us forward.