The Operational Team I lead had worked long and hard on our Conference Ministry Action Plan. Finally we were ready to test our ideas with clergy and lay leadership through District Listening Sessions. I fully expected that the input we received would result in revisions to our plan. However, I did not anticipate that an additional priority would emerge as a result of the listening sessions. Yet, thankfully it did - as our initial plan left out an essential priority for our cultural context - “ministry with the poor."
The recommended revision would have been a good one, regardless of the source. It was even better because it came from you, the members of the North Alabama Conference.
Next, District Superintendent Dr. Lewis Archer was invited to lead the “Ministry with the Poor” priority. Over the course of the past year he and his team have developed a compelling vision for North Alabama’s engagement with this priority. Why wouldn’t they? After all - ministry with the poor is in our Methodist DNA.
The team believes that “Every United Methodist Church in North Alabama will engage in excellent, capacity building ministry with a community of need in their area and that every engagement with a community of need will have as a core component the task of making disciples of Jesus Christ and creating new communities of faith.” This is why we are sponsoring an event to equip individuals and churches in next steps in our ministry with the poor.
Our “Best Practices Intensive” will be offered at Camp Sumatanga on August 29. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce leaders in our congregations to some of the best thinking in the Body of Christ on how local churches and ministries can be faithful in their work with the poor. We will be inviting those present to commit to ministry so be sure and bring anyone who you believe has a calling for this work!
The registration link is: https://na-reg.brtapp.com/MinistrywiththePoorTrainingEvent.
My hope and prayer for our “Best Practices Intensive” will be:
Adding “ministry with the poor” as a priority was an excellent recommendation. The “Best Practices Intensive” provides a forum for us to move to the next level as a Conference in living out this priority. Thank you for considering this opportunity.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett