The Indiana Conference staff, including District Superintendents, members of the Extended Cabinet, and Conference support team, joined together Monday, April 24 for a day of meeting, greeting, and catching up. It’s not often that conference staff are able to unite, due to their respective ministries being scattered in varying corners of the state, but in the happenstance that they meet, there’s always room for celebration.
In an effort to support that mission, Indiana Conference teams were challenged to fill seven backpacks for the Blessing Backpacks initiative which focuses on providing some essential resources to those experiencing homelessness. The 10 Conference districts and United Methodist congregations across the state, have been invited to take part in this drive to help counter the growing concern of homelessness throughout Indiana. Backpacks will be collected at this year’s annual conference session in June at the Laity Lounge.
The all staff gathering was also an opportune time to provide updates on recent and upcoming changes taking place at the Conference level. Changes like the 2017 Realignment of core values and the leadership structure of the Indiana Conference. Involved in that process are new hirees, Rev. Tom Heaton, who began his service as the Associate Director of Mission and Justice Monday, May 1, and Rev. Paul Wagner, the new Assistant to the Director of Connectional Ministries, who is scheduled to begin working with the Conference in June 2017.
All-Staff Day also provides a space for the conference staff to celebrate their faith together. Typically this is limited to Sunday morning services and other avenues outside the Conference or district offices. However, meetings such as these allow us to first and formally address the faith and spirituality involved in the work of the Conference, in all areas. But more importantly, it gives Conference staff a chance to pray and worship together, as well as strategize and work together for what is ultimately the glory of the Most High God.
With inspiration from 1 Corinthians 12, Bishop Trimble reminded the Conference staff, that as the Indiana Conference attempts to re-shift our missional focus, outlined by the Four Areas of Ministry Focus by the United Methodist Church, that we are to commit to being and remaining “unapologetically missional and outwardly focused.”