Grace and peace to you!
I’m truly humbled and honored to be serving as your Transitional Conference Minister. The Minnesota Conference has a reputation within the UCC as a healthy conference, something which I can affirm after a month on the job (and from my tenure as a pastor at Lynnhurst UCC in Minneapolis from 2007 to 2014). We as a conference are truly blessed with abundant resources, including the natural beauty of the Upper Midwest. talented staff and dedicated volunteers across the conference, and much, much more.
During my tenure, I’ll be working to leverage that abundance to accomplish two goals: maintenance and reimagining. Oh the one hand, I’m here to maintain the usual work of conference ministry, ensuring that it happens in a timely and faithful way. On the other hand, I’m also here to help guide the conference through the interim tasks of reimagination that need to be accomplished before the next settled conference minister’s call begins. Last week, I outlined those tasks in this newsletter, but in case you missed them, here are the five interim ministry tasks:
- Coming to terms with history
- Exploring a new identity
- Managing shifts in power
- Rethinking denominational linkage
- Embracing a new future and new leadership
While these tasks sometimes overlap, the first four must be addressed in order for a search committee to know what kind of leader God is inviting us to call as the next settled conference minister.
I have already begun collaborating with our staff and Board to see how we mught leverage the resources we have to do this work. To that end, I can tell you now that ministries like Covenant Days and this year’s clergy retreat are going to include time for storytelling, reflection, and dialogue to deepen our understanding of God’s call for us as rhe Minnesota Conference.
And starting this month, COMMAntary will include a weekly history segment designed to help us come to terms wtih our past. We’re doing this not to be mired in nostalgia for “the good old days,” but to consider what our history might tell us about God’s aims for our present and future ministry.
THIS IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP.
Do you or your congregation know of a moment or a story from the Conference’s history that might be helpful to hear as we reflect together? I’m eager to hear both before and since the merger that created the United Church of Christ, and you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on the volume of responses, we may not have room to run them all, but we will do our best!
In any case, I welcome your prayers for the Board of Directors and the Conference staff as we navigate this time of transition.
Rev. David Lindsey