Conference Minister & President Jim Antal sent the following to churches, associations, clergy and lay leaders of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, on Wednesday, July 9.
From: Jim Antal, Conference Minister & President
[please note that beneath my letter is a greeting from our new staff member]
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Less than a month ago, over 500 of us gathered for our Annual Meeting – described by many as one of the best MACUCC gatherings in a long time. In addition to hearing Bishop Yvette Flunder’s inspirational presentations, we took time to celebrate the life and ministry of Andy Gustafson, Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development, who died in May. Andy’s wife Carole shared a stirring reminder of Andy’s gifts, and then we all shared with others at our tables how his ministry touched our lives and this Conference.
A few days after the meeting, I began to address the fact that for quite some time, the Conference had been without an ACM for Stewardship and Financial Development. After consulting our staff, I proposed to the Executive Committee that we hire a Temporary ACM for Stewardship and Financial Development for a period of 9-18 months. This would allow us to address immediate needs while giving the Board and I time to assess our long range needs. Again, I consulted staff about possible candidates, and with the support of the Executive Committee I pursued and engaged the candidates who had been suggested. Finally, I brought to the Executive Committee the candidate I was recommending for this position, and they offered their unanimous and enthusiastic support.
This week, the Rev. Dr. Jonathan New begins as MACUCC’s Temporary ACM for Stewardship and Financial Development. He brings to us a wide range of pastoral, administrative and stewardship experience. After serving as a settled pastor for seven years in Waitsfield, VT, Jonathan has served as an interim for several of the larger churches in the VT Conference. For five years he served with Andy on the New England Stewardship Team (UCC) Steering Committee. He has also consulted with churches in the areas of church vitality, stewardship, conflict, and open and affirming processes. Throughout my eight years as CM, I have worked with Jonathan on the Council for Theological Education in New England, on which he currently serves as chair. He was recently selected by MESA (Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization) at the national setting of the UCC to be part of a small team that will develop a new Manual on Ministry for the UCC. And Jonathan also teaches UCC Polity with Beth Nordbeck at Andover Newton Theological School.
For the months of July and August Jonathan will serve MACUCC in a half-time capacity while he concludes his interim work with the UCC church in Randolph, VT. In September he will engage his work as Temporary ACM on a full time basis.
At its October meeting, the Conference Board will begin to discuss longer range plans for this work. In the meantime, we can all be grateful that for the next 9-18 months, MACUCC will have an experienced staff member working with congregations and church leaders to develop and implement best practices around stewardship and financial development. To share this good news with your congregation or others, please use this link: macucc.org/newsdetail/161403
I invite you to find a way to welcome Jonathan as our new Mass. Conference UCC Temporary ACM for Stewardship and Financial Development and offer him your partnership as we continue this journey together. His greeting to the Conference immediately follows.
Dear MACUCC Partners in Ministry,
I greet you as the Massachusetts Conference’s newly named Temporary ACM for Stewardship and Financial Development. Having had the privilege of knowing Andy Gustafson and serving with him on various stewardship efforts, I am confident that I can build on the foundation that he so ably laid. It will take some time for me to pick up all of the threads that Andy held, particularly as I begin this ministry in a half-time capacity through the end of the summer. However, there is good work for us to continue together and I am eager to pursue it as actively as possible.
I look forward to serving with and among you over the next 9-18 months. Please do not hesitate to contact me about stewardship and development matters. I will endeavor to field your inquires and provide guidance to the best of my ability as I gain a deepened understanding of the depth and breadth of this ministry.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Jonathan New
Temporary ACM for Stewardship and Financial Development