Pennsylvania Southeast Conference – United Church of Christ
We, the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ, trusting in God’s saving grace; proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, ministering in covenant with our local churches and associations; and reaching out in mission with the wider church and to the world; embody God’s love by:
Encouraging our local churches toward new and renewed ministries; nurturing strong pastoral and lay leadership while celebrating and developing the God-given gifts of all members.
Strengthening the mission of our Conference; providing new opportunities for worship, Christian education, stewardship, evangelism and Christian witness while affirming our partnership with the whole United Church of Christ.
Preparing the way for God’s reign; affirming the ecumenical unity and inclusiveness of Christ’s Church; committing to the struggle for justice, mercy and peace while praying for the healing of all that separates us from God’s love.
2020 VISION PENN SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE UCC
The PSEC Conference Consistory developed this “2020 Vision and Strategic Plan” to shape our work and ministry over the next 5 years. Though it has been shared with many groups throughout the Conference including Fall Association meetings and the Conference annual Spring Meeting, it is still in draft form. Conference Consistory is still collecting and integrating comments and suggestions. The plan will be submitted for approval at the PSEC Fall Meeting, Sunday, November 15, 2015. PSEC Pastors and lay leaders should become familiar with this document so that your local church can be an active partner in the conference-wide mission to be a strong force for good and God in the southeast region of Pennsylvania. Conference Minister, Bill Worley, would gladly meet with any PSEC pastor and/or leadership team to discuss the document and answer questions.
Vision- a unified portion of the Body of Christ moving in a collaborative direction to effect for God and for good the lives of all people living in Southeast Pennsylvania and beyond.
Mission- strengthen local churches and pastors by making the seven Associations of the Penn Southeast Conference agencies of connection and accountability.
Objectives- Keeping Jesus and the gospel at the heart of everything we do, by 2020 we will create an ethos of expectation, experimentation and transformation by:
- offering 4 on‐going Conference‐wide vitality training experiences annually.
- offering 3 spiritual retreat opportunities for clergy (i.e. Women’s Retreat, Men’s Retreat, Clergy and Spouses Retreat) annually.
- annual training events instituting the Manual on Ministry as the normative practice for Church and Ministry committee work in the Conference;
- offering web connection capacity for at least ½ of the conference meetings hosted at the conference office.
- turning our churches inside out to focus on local community transformation as much as church tradition, growth and discipleship. We want to see 5 cities or towns being positively affected by the presence of a UCC congregation as measured by the quality of life standards (i.e. education, housing/homelessness, crime reduction, employment opportunities, health/wellness) of those communities;
- preparing for the birth of six new vital spiritual communities through recruitment of excellent entrepreneurial leaders to lead the effort, recruiting partner churches to provide support and infrastructure, and raising funding to adequately empower the movement;
- increasing OCWM pledges from the 169 churches of the Penn SE Conference 2% each year through 2020;
- remembering that church growth is a byproduct of a vital spiritual community, we will connect local congregations to training, inspirational experiences, networking opportunities and congregational coaches with the goal of increasing active participation in 80 of our churches by 10%.
- developing an expectation of pastoral excellence among the Authorized Pastors of the conference,
- By providing a clergy coach to each pastor for the first year at the beginning of a new ministry.
- every pastor in the conference will be in an accountability and support group with three other clergy;
- financially supporting people called to Authorized ministry by establishing (via a conference wide campaign) a $4 million endowment fund for PSEC clergy that will:
- Assist authorized pastors currently serving in local ministry settings with the reduction of debt related to seminary education.
- Finance 50% of all seminary related training costs for highly qualified leaders seeking ordination to parish ministry.
- creating a Member In Discernment Academy to standardize the training of potential clergy in the essential practices of ministry excellence in the Penn SE Conference;
- identifying and resourcing at least 5 congregations who want to experiment with new ministry models and collaborative partnerships;
- developing a strategy and beginning conversations with 5 congregations nearing the end of their life together to explore the investment of their legacy gifts in the starting of new ministries in the conference;
- identifying at least two social justice issues impacting the communities in our conference, offering prophetic witness through op‐ed pieces, protest rallies, social media campaigns, member education and all other effective means for the advancement of just and generous Christian values;
- strengthening the covenantal connections between local churches, Associations and the Conference as evidenced by a 20% increase in attendance at Conference sponsored events, especially Annual Meeting;
- reshaping the Annual Meeting experience to communicate our ethos of expectation, experimentation and transformation.
- laying a foundation for at least two ministry hubs in ethnically diverse urban‐centers of the conference;
Together, we now shift the narrative of Mainline decline to a story of hope for a generative future. We are the model for those seeking transformation in their denominational settings across this nation. We believe in the God of resurrection, and in God we place our faith and hope.
Let us begin…
Approved, PSEC Conference Consistory, September 29, 2015, for submission to Conference Associations for acceptance and implementation.
Association Fall meeting vote summary:
East Berks – October 10, 2015 – approved
Heidelberg – October 5, 2015 – approved
North Penn – October 19, 2015 – approved
Philadelphia – October 11, 2015 – approved
Reading – October 25, 2015 – not approved
Schuylkill – October 18, 2015 – approved
Ursinus – October 25, 2015 – approved