After a day of learning, which engaged large membership churches in conversation focused on poverty and how the Church can address the needs of our neighbors in every community; Bishop Trimble and the Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright, Director of Leadership Development, hosted young clergy leaders for an evening dinner.
During the time of fellowship and connection, Indiana clergy under the age of 40 gathered to join Bishop Trimble in a conversation around ministry, the state of the Church, caring for self and for family, and the challenges our society is facing.
Bishop Trimble shared reflections from his recent time at Africa University and his engagement with students from all across the continent of Africa, striving to leave a lasting footprint in their communities and eventually the world.
The bishop used his time with young clergy to invite fruitful conversations on a plethora of topics and issues and asked the group how they can best be encouraged, challenged, and inspired by him and the leaders who represent the Office of the Bishop throughout the Conference.
Clergy remarked that they would like to see more diversity of age and culture on the Cabinet and at our large churches throughout the Conference. Likewise, it was suggested that the Indiana Conference help churches to practice being a better supporter of non-traditional clergy and ministry families, and to cultivate organic relationships between clergy colleagues in regards to being more fruitful and positive.
In reference to our of the Indiana Conference being fully missional by 2020, clergy discussed how local and large churches can play a vital role in sharing stories that help support that mission. Stories that embody churches that are going above and beyond in taking steps to adopting a missional perspective and action plan. And how we as a collective body can encourage and provides opportunities for those narratives to be shared and/or broadcasted.
Dr. Cindy Reynolds, Executive Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries, also shared information on how other conferences are having critical conversations around challenging topics before the Church at this moment in time. Other conferences are leading in creating spaces for these conversations and training facilitators to lead these conversations so that they might be fruitful and respectful.
Drawing toward the end of their time together, Bishop Trimble one last conversational seed: As we shift our mission focus to implement the four foci of The United Methodist Church, what can the Indiana Conference do to invite open dialogue? What would it look like if people were freely able to dialogue?