Availability To Serve
The LORD’s messenger appeared to him and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior!” (Judges 6:12 ff., CEB).
Last October, we launched the District Initiative (DI). The DI is a vision that captures a new and revitalized purpose to discover, develop and employ fervent partnership opportunities between laity and clergy that enrich our connection.
For the past six months, leaders of the Rappahannock River and York River Districts have come together to formulate plans to achieve the goal of creating the proposed new district. During this time, we had five Listening Posts to inform clergy and laity about the goal and objectives of the District Initiative (DI) and to solicit their feedback. We created an organizational chart to show the function and flow of the proposed new district. We also created sub-groups that included the Board of Missions, Board of Ordained Ministry, Finance, Trustees, Building and Location, and Committee on Superintendency (COS). The COS is responsible for discussing preliminary staffing matters. We also created a sub-group to explore a name for the proposed new district. Each sub-group has reported its findings. We will reconvene the larger workgroup shortly, incorporate the feedback in our work, and produce a final proposal for distribution.
The final proposal will represent a cross-section of both districts. These individuals have worked extremely hard. They have answered some challenging questions. Yet, other questions remain. But just as we have worked through challenges, we will not be deterred. We will discover a path forward. When we put our differences aside and explore ministry options together, we will prevail. Let us, therefore, exercise tolerance, civility, and patience. Let us contribute creative ideas and collaborate. That is the beauty of our connection when clergy and laity collaborate.
The DI is an effort to build on the foundation of these connections, partnerships, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. This effort will also expand our capacity to engage each other and reach our communities. Both clergy and laity have shown great resilience, and I believe that we can continue with a similar spirit. Our spirits connect with faith. And if our faith is anchored in an active relationship with the LORD, we will move forward in a shared ministry that transforms lives.
Any ministry that transforms should be a welcome gesture. "Let us be sold for the kingdom" (Lewis, 2022). God is looking for those who are available to just do the next thing! The next thing for us is the District Initiative (DI). The DI requires the availability of all clergy and laity. I am not calling upon us to be right in everything we do. I am calling us to be active participants and effective leaders (Eberhardt, 2022). Rather than being a critic of the DI, I invite you to support it. Your contribution is valuable. When there is an argument or disagreement within our family, we do not abandon our family. We do not speak evil about our family. We often express our feelings but rejoin our family. We are inviting everyone to be a part of this experience. Each of you is a gift to my leadership, our district, and our Conference. I envision us as a huge family tree of faith. Because we come from divergent backgrounds, persuasions, and professions, we make a talented and effective team that can accomplish the work of the DI.