As reported by Dawn Hammond, Associate Conference Minister and Staff to the Board
To warm up for their February meeting, seven members of your Board of Directors went on a field trip. Along with six MACUCC staff, they attended the 2012 Woodbury Leadership Workshop at Andover Newton Theological School on Feb. 2. The workshop, “Pursuing the Vision: Leading toward Newness”, featured the leadership of Dr. Peter Senge and the Rev. Dr. Mary Luti.
On the following evening, the full Board and Staff Ministry Team met to share insights from the workshop and consider implications for our Conference of churches. Notes from that conversation are posted here (PDF). Participants noted that each local congregation needs to seek and receive its own vision and purpose from God, and that one important role of the Conference of churches might be to encourage, provoke and facilitate such visioning work.
Meanwhile, the Conference setting has the seeds of a vision expressed in A Still More Excellent Way, developed via an extensive Conference-wide listening process and affirmed by the Annual Meeting in 2007. This document offers glimpses of what a Conference of vital, interconnected, engaged churches might look like as they seek to make God’s love and justice real.
However, the emphasis of A Still More Excellent Way is on core functions and new ways of interacting, rather than on vision. Many around the table felt that the glimpse it provides needs to be developed into a fuller and more compelling picture of the future toward which we are called. This work will continue in May, beginning with a facilitated Board/Staff retreat, with the understanding that a full process of discerning such a picture will need to involve other Conference leaders as well.
Saturday Feb. 4 found Board members in worship and conversation on how to continue to develop a greater capacity for “generative” governance: to continue to listen and learn what is going on in local churches other than their own, to encourage visioning work within congregations, to capture and elevate stories of love and justice being made real through the ministries of our churches. Other highlights included:
Conference Minister and President Jim Antal reported on progress toward a statewide Unified Fitness Review Team, which each Association will be able to join at its option. The hope is to relieve much pressure, particularly on smaller Associations, while ensuring that those dealing with fitness reviews are well-trained and resourced.
Dr. Antal also reported that some program commission members had expressed concern over the proposed reorganization of volunteer groups (see December blog post). Board members remain concerned that the seven-commission structure adopted in 1988 has become unsustainable, and encouraged Jim to engage further with Commission members, inviting their input as to how the proposal might be improved.
Walter Kreil, Treasurer, reported that Basic Support contributions for 2011 were 5% lower than in 2010, while Dues were slightly higher. Income from churches was under budget by about $30,000. (For more detail, please see news article: Conference 2011 income below expectations.) The Board voted changes to the 2012 operating schedule, as well as capital budget totals and restricted fund allocations for the year. They also indicated their intention that all unrestricted bequests received during the active phase of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Capital Campaign will be added to the proceeds of the campaign.
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