By Kathryn Witte, Nebraska Area communications director
Momentum for the formation of one new conference continued during the June 22 Nebraska-Kansas Episcopal Area Transition Team meeting at Centenary United Methodist Church in Beatrice, Neb., as team members met to map out next steps.
|Members of the Nebraska-Kansas Episcopal Area Transition Team meet to discuss the next steps in combining the Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska conferences. (photo by Lisa Diehl)|
All commented on the overwhelming support expressed through the votes.
“Coming off General Conference, having people agree by 70 percent on anything is an accomplishment,” said Rev. David Livingston from Lenexa.
Members turned their attention toward the next steps in developing a plan for the new conference. Dream teams will be re-engaged, with a new one named for risk-taking mission and justice work. Transition team members were assigned to work with dream teams to review their work and facilitate ongoing collaboration toward adaptive change.
“We have to remember our original work that focused on how to equip, train and deploy leaders,” said Rev. Matt Fowler from Grand Island, Neb.
The group committed to developing a 2014 budget with leadership development as the primary driver.
The group recognized the need to begin addressing technical work, such how to integrate databases and other administrative tasks, while ensuring that adaptive work has the freedom to continue. Adaptive work is the creation of new concepts and innovative ways of doing ministry.
A July 12 meeting brought together all three new chairpeople of conferences’ boards of ordained ministry along with three cabinet representatives, staff liaisons and Rev. Micki McCorkle, registrar for the Nebraska and Kansas boards of ordained ministry, to discuss a holistic model for the recruitment, discernment, education, deployment and evaluation of clergy for consistency across the new Great Plains Area.
The uniting conference, scheduled for Aug. 22-24 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, will include a mission/justice work day. In exchange for three days at the uniting conference, all three spring annual-conference sessions will be shortened.
The energy of the transition team was evident as they discussed ways to support not doing ministry in the same old ways. There is a desire to establish only those things necessary to conduct the business of the new conference and not to incorporate several boards at the outset.
“Informal connections work the best when people network on their own, and it helps avoid the institutionalization of programs coming from the conference,” said Rev. Wayne Alloway, Lincoln St. Marks UMC.
Bishop Scott Jones noted what consultant Gil Rendle said upon learning about the vote. “Congratulations,” said Rendle. “Now the real work begins!”