Staff members from across the Indiana Conference, including Conference Superintendents and Assistants from the ten districts, as well as Camp and Outdoor Ministries, joined together for a day devoted to self-care, professional development, and discussing how we carry out the mission of the Church in the future.
The All-Staff Gathering is a time for staff members to commune, develop and strengthen relationships, learn from one another, and see the hands and feet that help give life to the mission and vision of the Conference.
Bishop Trimble greeted staff members with prayer and a short reflection titled “What Do You Know for Sure?”
“The work that is done through the Indiana Conference is done in large part through the prayers of many people,” he said.
In light of his personal mission to encourage the children of God to reach their highest potential, the bishop stated, “I know this for sure: prayer + planning + persistence makes progress. I know that people who know they matter work like their work matters.”
The group was led in uplifting worship by Jason Fishburn, Relationship Manager for the United Methodist Financial Credit Union. (The Credit Union joined the Conference Center as an institutional partner in 2017.)
Emily Reese, Director of Church Development, led staff in a design thinking assessment to help ministry teams identify their gifts and resources, as well as learn how to share them with other ministry teams.
The object of the assessment was to develop a ministry using random and seemingly unnecessary resources. The goal: to collaborate with different teams to ensure that each ministry was well-resourced to accomplish its mission and remain sustainable. That required communicating across teams to learn about the resources that could potentially be bartered or borrowed, then collaborating with similar “newly-developed ministries” to create a greater impact.
Following the exercise, team members noted the collaboration between teams created an atmosphere of hope and possibilities for their different missions. They quickly realized there is more than one way to accomplish a task or mission and that sharing ideas increased creativity and mobilized slow or stagnant efforts.
“The team activity was great, because it not only enabled us to get to know one another better, it also allowed us to hone in on our strengths and abilities to come together and create a solution towards a topic that meant something to us,” said Ashley Hobbs, Accounts Payable Clergy for the Administration and Financial Services Team.
An important part of All-Staff Day is taking the time to acknowledge new staff members and to recognize those who have committed their time and efforts to support our mission throughout the years.
Guests celebrated staff slated to retire in the next year: Conference Assistants Becky Huff-Cook (Southeast District) and Sherry Fulbright (Northeast District), Executive Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Dr. Cindy Reynolds, Conference Superintendent in the Central District Rev. Dr. Jim Bushfield, Administrator of Ministerial Services Ed Metzler, and Secretary to the Bishop Erma Metzler. Among them, these retirees have served a total of 127 years in the Indiana Conference.
Rev. Larry Whitehead, Conference Superintendent in the North District, worked alongside Rev. Dr. Cindy Reynolds to review the Conference’s Wildly Important Goal (WIG) for United Methodist churches in Indiana to be fully missional by 2020.
Rev. Whitehead will soon lead as the Executive Assistant to the Bishop as Dr. Reynolds transitions into retirement in July after 40 years of service. Dr. Reynolds reminded staff that though the Church is in a time of uncertainty and angst, it’s critical to remember the reasons we began walking with Christ and serving as part of the Conference.
She said, “When you work for the Indiana Conference, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. We believe you’re called. What you do makes a greater difference for God.”