NOT GOING BACK
We are a week into the start of a new Conference year, as many of our clergy were re-appointed back to their places of service. Additionally, we welcome a few new clergy faces* and four new congregations+ to the Central District, and we celebrate the movement of familiar faces in new places**. I pray that over the next twelve months of ministry, despite the ongoing challenges (global pandemic, societal crisis, and denominational unknowns), the lay and clergy of the Central District will not allow the challenges to hinder the witness of living our vision of being Christ-Centered, Community-Connected, and Missionally-Centric.
Over the last several days, I have been pondering this quote…”toast can never be bread again.” As I continue to wrestle with this quote’s meaning, the essence has resonated and proven to be true during these ever-evolving times. As we, as communities of faith, continue to navigate this global pandemic and its complexities regarding the safety of our sacred worship spaces. Moreover, the ongoing cries and clarion calls for “liberty and justice for all” continue to be heard loudly and by many voices throughout this country.
As I think more deeply about ”toast can never be bread again.”, it simply means, WE CAN NOT GO BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL! As we have proven throughout the last four months, we must possess an agility and nimbleness to ministry that would allow our faith communities to pivot quickly amidst so many changes and uncertainties. During this time, we have made decisions to put to rest unnecessary ministry repetitions to envision new ministry practices and possibilities. Furthermore, I would suggest, we are becoming more enlightened and educated regarding the inequitable systems and structures that perpetually effective BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color). And I would even dare to share, just maybe, as we begin the conversations around a Just Kin-dom, perhaps we are expanding our understanding of justice to include the ways The Church (and Church People) have been the conduits of hurt and hate for many groups of people for far too long. So, while I believe that God wastes nothing and redeems all things, we cannot allow this unrepeatable moment in time, to not change us; from the inside out. We cannot discount this experience of life over the first half of 2020, to not shape us into becoming more committed in our relationship and followship of Jesus Christ. Again, ”toast can never be bread again” and I wonder how God is calling you forward…and how will you respond?
Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving Central District
P.S.: Please mark your calendars as we will begin a District-wide book study from September 1 thru November 30 around the book, “How to Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. More details regarding the reading schedule and the ZOOM connections will be published at the end of July. Click here to learn more about the book.
*We welcome to the Central District:
- Rev. Amy Lee (Rosedale Hills UMC)
- Rev. Hannah Wiswasser (Plainfield UMC-Associate)
- Rev. David Ballinger (Martinsville First UMC)
- Rev. Aaron Hobbs (Broadway UMC)
**We celebrate the new appointments of:
- Pastor Elizabeth Gilbert (Union Chapel-Indianapolis)
- Rev. Tiffany Williams-Fashimpaur (Bethel UMC)
- Pastor Debbie Ebersole (Charlottesville UMC)
- Pastor Michael Gant (Miracles and Blessings UMC)
- Rev. Eric Kersey (Woodside UMC)
- Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs (St. Andrews-Indianapolis UMC)
+We received Flat Rock UMC, Geneva UMC, and Marietta UMC, and Edinburgh UMC from the Southeast District.