Dear CCOV Family,
Here we are on the final countdown to summer! As worship attendance thins out, please know that my thoughts and prayers go with all our seasonal members returning to cooler climes. We look forward to seeing you in a few months!
Meanwhile, I want to share a sampling from the UCC Southwest Annual Conference that Dorie, Clint, and I were privileged to attend last week in Albuquerque. Dorie and I spent the first day in anti-racism training. We learned that racism is deeply embedded in most of us, and that even with heightened awareness of our tendencies and intentions to be unbiased, we are still “racists in recovery.” One interesting activity in the training was filling cups with beads of varying colors as we thought about whom we employ as our professionals and service people. Predictably, my cup was almost entirely filled with white beads. We also watched some eye-opening Ted Talks given by those who have suffered from racism and had important insights to share. How crucial it is to listen deeply to one another and to be willing to change and grow!
Of note during the business session was that the Rev. Dr. Bill Lyons, previously serving as our “designated conference minister,” was overwhelmingly and joyfully voted in as our settled/called conference minister. Another business item is that the Southwest Conference voted almost unanimously on the resolution to be a sanctuary conference. This means that it will fully support sanctuary churches who have chosen to advocate for immigration justice and offer immigrants sanctuary. I have a copy of the resolution if any of you would like more information.
Finally, I wanted to let you know that big changes are proposed for those going into ordained ministries. The UCC may no longer require an MDiv or other seminary degrees as part of the typical ordination process–though none of this will be voted on until 2019. Many have recognized that ministry does not look like it did even ten years ago: Churches are smaller and may not be able to afford a pastor who potentially has a $90,000 seminary debt to pay off. Members in discernment will still have a rigorous “marks of ministry” process to complete. Of course we should always remember that local churches remain autonomous though in covenant with the denomination.
I could share so much more about conference, but space is limited. Feel free to talk to Dorie, Clint, or me if you would like more information! Stay cool!
Grace and Peace,