It seems like every day we hear more news about how the mainline church is in decline. Unfortunately, some of the news is true. Things are changing; what worked for decades is no longer working and it calls for a new way to sing God’s song in our land. Yet we in the Southeast Conference are learning how to sing that new song. Even though some of our churches are experiencing decline, many are growing: with young families, with children, with single people of all ages and all stages of life. It is a time of new birth for a number of our churches.
The Conference is in a rebirth as well. You all did some good and hard work the past few years. The Conference now has a balanced budget. Committees and processes are streamlined. We are poised for new growth and new avenues of ministry. This is how it should be: when hard work is done well, we all experience the benefits.
Your Board of Directors at their last retreat responded to this new birth with excitement and hope for the future ministry we all can accomplish in the Southeast Conference. The Board of Directors unanimously voted to create a full time Associate Conference Minister position. This position will incorporate the duties presently done by our Registrar position, but will also include greater responsibilities for the Commission on Ministry and represent the Conference (in addition to the Conference Minister.) This position gives us the opportunity to serve the congregations and pastors of the Southeast Conference better and begins to bring future possibilities of ministry closer to being reality.
The salary of this new position, along with the salary of your Interim Conference Minister—while adequate—are by no means luxurious. If you have detailed questions about the finances, please contact any member of the Board of Directors or one of us.
The Board of Directors also unanimously voted to call Heather Fosburgh Bardole as Associate Conference Minister. Since she began working for the Conference in November, Heather has become an invaluable resource to us. At General Synod we heard numerous times, “Oh, Heather works for your conference, she is amazing.” She is indeed a great gift and her ministry is essential to our success.
The other exciting part of this is that Heather is Approved for Ordination Pending Call, and this position is an ordainable call, so I joyfully invite you to the Ordination of Heather Fosburgh Bardole into the Christian Ministry on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. at Kirkwood United Church of Christ, Atlanta, GA.
This Conference is poised to do great things. We are blessed to serve with you at this time.
Marie Bacchiocchi, Interim Conference Minister
JR Finney, Moderator