Annual Meeting recap from the Conference Minister
The Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference closed last Saturday evening at West Chester University with this parting thought by our guest speak Brian McLaren, “God is the supreme healer, the supreme friend, the supreme lover, the supreme life-giver who self-empties in gracious love for all. The king of kings and lord of lords is the servant of all and the friend of sinners. The so-called weakness and foolishness of God are greater than the so-called power and wisdom of human regimes.”
Our meeting theme, “On The Road Again”, was born from conversations about the places from which we respond to Christ’s call to share God’s love; places that are daily impacted by changes to church and culture. Jesus is calling us, as he regularly does, to venture out into the world; to leave behind the expectation that the world will come to church; to join in what Brain McLaren calls the Great Spiritual Migration.
So, for this year’s Annual Meeting we let go of workshops and training sessions to embrace what spiritual migration looks like, how to draw inspiration from it and how we might lead it. Rev. Cean James, PSEC Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Vitality and founding pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship, preached a powerful word Friday night on the difference between being a tourist and pilgrim on the road with Jesus.
We recognized the significant anniversaries of churches and pastors including that of Rev. Ted Horvath who was ordained 70 years ago! We celebrated the generosity of our congregations who surpassed our OCWM goal for 2018 and have us on the road to do that again this year. We announced that of our $50,000 pledge to “The Generations of Service Campaign” by the UCC Pension Board to support new and retired clergy, we have received $45,000 in pledges and contributions.
‘I left with a brain filled with thoughts and a heart filled with joy’ was one person’s expression of their experience. ‘I can’t wait to come back next year.’
Many people worked very hard to bring together all the parts of our time together including the Annual Meeting Planning Team (Barbara Hughes, Marv Coldren, Rev. Dr. Stephen Ohnsman, Rev. Dwayne A. Mosier, Rev. JoEllen Mauger [out-going chair], Rev. John Folk, Rev. Robert Witmyer, Rev. Teresa A. McNamara [in-coming chair]), The Worship Team (Rev. Dr. Stephen Ohnsman, Kathy Snyder, Rev. Mary Etta Mest, Rev. Rebecca Hoover, Rev. Selina Hamilton, Rev. Karl Jones) the musicians from Grace Christian Fellowship, tech guru’s Revs. Kim Berenotto and John Folk, and our Conference Staff all under the direction of eternal optimist and Executive for Conference Communication/Events and the Assistant to the Conference Minister, Susan Creswell. Thank you all and bless you. I, too, can’t wait to be together next year.
Rev. William P. Worley, Conference Minister