The State of the Conference: A New Vision

My Dear Friends,

What a wonderful annual meeting we had! Your “official” welcome to me was so overwhelming. I am so blessed to be here among you for this interim time. Like I said in my shortened state of the conference, the priorities for our time together are listed below. Please read them and ask me about them. These priorities are based on what I have heard and seen in my three months with you, but they can and should be adapted through our shared life and wisdom.

Blessings and peace,
Marie

The State of the Conference: A New Vision

  1. Continue to put policies and best practices into place. This is most easily translated into: organization. I love to organize. I love to make plans and make sure that everything has a place.
    • I have found that when people of faith begin to feel unsure about their ministry and mission, they stop doing the groundwork to make it succeed. And then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So we don’t prep the way we should and then when things don’t match our hopes and expectations we can easily say, well, we know why. And then things begin the dangerous spiral down.
    • God chose the Southeast Conference to do some important things in this world.
    • The Southeast Conference has, is, and will continue to do great and amazing things in ministry and mission. We just need a little organization to make us shine!
    • Now, I will need your help. There will be committees and task forces and things to do….
  2. Discerning and articulating a vision that enables you to form a search committee and call your next conference minister. This is where we put all this organization into a plan for the conference. You will have your elevator speech, you will have your vision, you will know who you are and what you want to become. And with that work done, you will be in a perfect place to begin the process to call your next permanent conference minister.
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  3. Strengthen the relationship among the SEC churches, authorized ministers, and lay leaders. This conference is an amazing group of 56 congregations with a rich and long history. Our congregations have people in them who are faithful, loving, talented.
    Relationships help us know who we are, whose we are, and the tangible knowledge that we do not walk our path alone.
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  4. Have fun celebrating all that God does in our midst.
    • I believe that #4 is the most important.
    • I have come to realize that when we let the anxiety surrounding the institutional church dominate our thinking, we forget to have fun and celebrate all the ways our God blesses our individual and communal lives each and every day.
    • Times are hard and challenges abound, but we can never forget who we are and whose we are.
    • As we celebrate the living, loving God in our midst, we will have the energy and the spirit to do the work that is ahead of us.