Historic Quad Board Gathering Marks End and Beginning

5/6/2019

Members of the four boards gathered together in Woodstock, CT
The following is a compilation from accounts written by Hannah Brown, Bridget 
Fidler and Tracy Keene


WOODSTOCK, CT -- There was warmth and humor in shared worship, fellowship and discernment as the members of the Together, As One (TA1) Board of Directors and members of the boards of the historic Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences gathered on May 4 to celebrate their work and hear updates on the progress that has been made in the formation of a new conference in southern New England. 
 
The day began as the Rev. Marilyn Kendrix, Rhode Island Transitional Conference Minister, reflected on how scripture calls us to simultaneously wait for God (Psalm 27) and to forge ahead with speed and energy (Isaiah 40:28-31; Hebrews 12:1-2). In forming a new conference, she said, “we’ve been waiting on the Lord at a full-tilt run for five years!”
 

Reflections:

A Both/ And Moment - Lauren Lorincz
"We are waiting for God and running the race.  We are in the already and not yet.  So it’s not either we celebrate what will be, or we grieve what has been.  We can do both, acknowledging that we are all bringing a complexity of thoughts and feelings to these gatherings."
Read Lauren's full post

A Bittersweet Day - Timoth Sylvia
"in the midst of it all, I felt the all-too-familiar blend of joy and sorrow, excitement and grief experienced as we birth something new together. The day, surrounded by those whom we have grown to know and admire over these many years, was bittersweet."
Read Timoth's full post

For the Healing of Our World - Kari Nicewander
"We live in a world that is in desperate need of healing, of redemption, of repentance, of change ...  And we can only do this work together. We can only become more just, more compassionate, more peaceful, if we support one another on this journey. Because it is not easy, and it is not meant to be easy."
Read Kari's full post

We've Arrived - Maxwell Grant
"This has asked each conference to travel through some unfamiliar country, to be sure.  In its own way, it’s asked us to imagine some major re-routing.  But over the years of these gatherings, both here and in so many other places, I don’t think any of us have heard that dispiriting “clunk” warning us that we have truly lost our way, or the voice urging us to turn back and retrace our steps."
Read Max's full post

It’s a New Thing! - Cleo Graham
"We waited for the Lord who renewed our strength and kept us dancing with the holy breath that propelled us forward, back and in the middle of our community building exercises. We are more than acquaintances we are spiritual siblings.:
Read Cleo's full post
 
Kendrix also offered reflections on the parallels between her home church, The Church of the Redeemer UCC in New Haven, CT, that has begun the bold process of transplanting with two other churches, and the process of the three historic conferences unifying into one conference.  Her worship service grounded the group in the work ahead and offered time to reflect on the work already accomplished.  

Following some insightful community building exercises, each of the historic boards gave reports reflecting on the important statewide ministry decisions happening alongside all the preparations to become one conference.  Each conference board has done monumental work reviewing documents, financial statements and voting on a myriad of proposals and governance policies in planning the unification of a new conference, all while continuing to work on their respective stewardship and oversight of each of their conferences.

The Executive Committee from the TA1 Board shared a detailed timeline of the work that has been accomplished thus far and the work that will continue in the coming months.  A thorough discussion followed on the process and intent of the TA1 Resolution that will be brought before to the 32nd General Synod June 21-25, 2019.  (Read more here.)

Heading into Synod, the Rev. Kent Siladi, Connecticut Conference Minister, said: "We have to continue to ask ourselves as this unfolds, what can we do to strengthen the whole church?” 

In regard to concerns from delegates and visitors from other conferences at Synod, the Rev. Hannah Brown suggested asking “How could you imagine this partnership being fruitful for you?”

Conference Ministers Don Remick, Marilyn Kendrix and Kent Siladi spoke about the need for a bridge time in order to get things in place once the vote at General Synod has taken place. Stepping aside to let new leadership to come forward, they propose that they work in three areas across Conference lines based on what they are passionate about. (Read more here.)

In small group discussions, those gathered brainstormed about the four key areas of the new conference’s vision statement: Helping the local church make disciples of Jesus Christ, making God’s love and justice real in the world, bringing new life as agents of transformation, and forming covenant partnerships with groups that share our common values. Each person was invited to reflect on how those values speak to them personally, and to consider what brave new initiatives could be inspired by that vision.

The final piece of business was an update on the survey asking for input about what the new conference should be called. Input is being accepted about the name until May 15th – the survey is available here: togetheras1.org/name.
 
The gathering closed with prayer and shared blessings as those gathered begin to say goodbye to the historic state boards as they now function, while the board of the new conference takes on new responsibilities.

Board member Linda Mesler writes: "Wondering what you may do? Here are some suggestions from the gathering:
1) Take the new Conference naming survey - it's open through May 15 - and share the link with others
2) Participate in Association and Church discussions about TA1
3) Alert the Conference - Marlene Gasdia Cochrane or Drew Page - about activities in your church that embody the four mission values
4) Pray for the Conference and embody the change you want to see."


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