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Regional Minister Search Team Update July 3rd

By Regional Minister Search Team - Friday July 3, 2020

Regional Minister Search Team Update!


Please make sure you read this important letter (below) from the Regional Minister Search Team! There is information regarding the work that has already been done, how that faithful work has been informed, and what the hopeful timeline is for calling a future Regional Minister to serve here in Ohio!


If there are responses to this update, please email Regional Minister Search Team Co-Chairs Rev. Melanie Harrell Delaney at melanie.harrell@gmail.com and Rev. Debbie Saxe at revsaxe@gmail.com


From the Regional Minister Search Team:


This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Even in these times of uncertainty and isolation we have much to celebrate as we find new ways of moving and being in the world.  As we pray for you in your new and renewed ministries, we are also asking that you would be in prayer for our Regional Search Committee.  We have been meeting regularly in discernment about where we have been, where we are, and where God is leading us next. 

 

In our time together, the Regional Search Team has met six times with our Regional Church Council Moderator, Candis Wilson, as well as, Rick Spleth, visiting Regional Minister from Indiana.  During that time, we have reviewed the Regional Constitution and Bylaws for our own edification in this process.  We have evaluated job descriptions and compensation packages for other Regional Minister positions throughout the country as well as comparable positions in the United Church of Christ and non-profits, allowing us to better examine how to balance the administrative, pastoral, and creative aspects of this unique calling.  All of this has been held in faithfulness to the Marks of a Faithful Regional Church and the Manual for a Regional Search Committee. 


Additionally, we are so grateful for the diligent work and thorough research done by the Regional Transition Team to empower us with information from gatherings and conversations all across our Region.  Many of you may remember that we went through a process of Appreciative Inquiry at our last Regional Assembly.  Out of those conversations we were able to identify five objectives of the church (Worship, Service, Education, Fellowship, Evangelism).  Furthermore, we identified four core values: Helps & Services, Quality Communication, Authentic Connection & Community, and Spiritual Development.  Pragmatically, we expressed concern about our long-term sustainability and a need for more consistent financial support on all levels of the church and platforms for the involvement of young persons.  By far, the most consistent response to the question, "What is your greatest hope for the future?” was "transformation toward authentic, compassionate, respectful relationships” that would involve "paradigm shifts toward a living faith in partnership with our communities”.  Out of this initial data, and with additional prayer and discussion with elders and Regional staff, we are excited to share with you the vision that God is laying upon our hearts to lean into the future of our shared life together.


One of the greatest gifts of the Disciples of Christ is the congregational model.  It empowers us for grassroots movement in times of need that allow us to adapt quickly and still remain a cohesive body of faith.  This model for Regional ministry draws from the Restoration model in powerful ways that we believe will not only breathe life into our current existence but also build a foundation that can carry us into powerful manifestations of church in an ever-changing world.


This model would shape Regional ministry into four parts: Rejoice, Research, Resource, Renew.  Going forward and in all these things it is essential that we rejoice in our growth in both tangible and intangible ways.  We want to celebrate and feel celebrated as we do the important work of God in the world.  It is one of the simplest ways we can empower one another.  We also want our next Regional Minister to research what each of our congregations are doing, learning about their unique identities and circumstances, discovering what they are doing and how we can help one another.  To that end, our Regional Staff should also continue to resource our ministers and congregations.  This will continue to take the form of trainings, workshops, partnerships, but also seeking out grant opportunities that we may be eligible for and directing congregations toward those possibilities.  In this way we will be laying a Spiritual foundation of vision and vitality that will allow us to grow and adapt in sustainable ways.  We want to renew the church not just in this moment, but with each new day, new season, that God calls us toward.


As we continue to gather, plan, and pray, we invite you to join us in this process by praying with and for us as well.  Other invitations for your participation will also be forthcoming, however, we acknowledge that we can only move at the speed of trust.  We do not intent to rush this very important venture into our shared future, but we do desire to be good stewards of all resources including finances, time, and talents that keep us moving forward in the footsteps of Jesus and as Disciples of Christ.  This being said, we are optimistic that with your support we can have our next Regional Minister in place by the end of 2020. Like the early church, may we be so bold as to explore new ways of being and doing.


We leave you with this hymn and prayer:


This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that's gone.  For by the life and death of Jesus, love's mighty Spirit, now as then, can make for us a world of difference, as faith and hope are born again.  Then let us, with the Spirit's daring, step from the past and leave behind our disappointment, guilt, and grieving, seeking new paths and sure to find.  Christ is alive and goes before us to show and share what love can do.  This is a day of new beginnings; our God is making all things new.


O God, you have called your servants
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. 
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Debbie Saxe & Rev. Melanie Harrell Delaney

 

Regional Minister Search Team Members:

Rev. Debbie Saxe (co-chair)
Rev. Melanie Harrell Delanie (co-chair)
Rev. Anna Hope Curwood (secretary)
Vera Burton
Tomas Hernandez
Amir Darr
Mark Powers
Cliff Thompson
Candis Wilson (Regional Moderator)

 



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