From July 10-20, I had the opportunity to travel to Harare, Zimbabwe, to be part of a UMC clergywomen’s gathering on the campus of Africa University. It was powerful to experience the Connection, as 13 African Episcopal areas were represented to engage in conversation about the complexities and commonalities of leading as a female congregational leader. It was interesting and informative to hear some of the same concerns for equity that transcend across the continents.
In one of the guided discussions, the facilitator shared about a book titled, We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom. The title was so intriguing that I ordered it on Kindle, and began reading. While this book is geared toward educators and surrounding ideas about promoting educational freedom, the title continued to resonate with me and the important ministry opportunities we have in the Central District.
Friends, my hope is that our congregations will champion with the message of “we can do more than survive”. Yes, I realize the complexities of ministry are different in our current contexts, but I would suggest that Christ’s Church is still needed and necessary in the places for which our congregations are planted. I would suggest that we, as faithful Christ-followers, must have an understanding that we are going to move beyond survival mode, and move into being faithful in our fruitfulness! As John 15:8 (NLT) states, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” For me, this means we will move beyond the excuses (we do not have enough people, money, or young people), and begin executing the mission and mandate of Jesus Christ, with who and what we have right now!
As a Central District, you will continue to hear me share the vision that we will be: “Christ-Centered, Community-Connected, and Missionally-Centric”. Over the next several weeks (and during Charge Conference gatherings), I will expound on these various components of the vision, and what they mean for us individually and collectively for God’s Kin-dom service. I want to Thank You in advance for your commitment and the many ways it will be manifest through your individual and congregational time, talents, gifts, service, and witness.
As I heard in a message from Rev. Jennifer Evans (Calvary UMC In Brownsburg), we are called to be THE CHURCH (capital C), that moves beyond the building and embodies the message of Christ’s Love and Hope! Will you join me in dismantling the survivor mentality, and moving toward becoming greater Fruit-Bearers…WE CAN DO MORE and God is calling us to this charge!
Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent Serving the Central District
P.S. I would like to invite and encourage all to participate in our Connecting with a Cause experience that will take place on September 22, from 3:00p-6:00p at Epworth UMC. This is an experience to strengthen our Connection, install a Conference Superintendent, and make an impact in our Central District communities. All are able to participate (ages 5 to very seasoned). For more information and to sign up, please visit: https://donate.packawayhunger.org/event/connecting-for-a-cause/e240774