Skip to main content

Hope Partnership Regional/Area Update


Regional/Area Update

An update for our Regional and Area partners in ministry

Happy summer from Disciples Church Extension Fund and Hope Partnership! It’s a busy time for us all as General Assembly approaches, but it will all be worth it, as we will have opportunities in Columbus to catch up with each other. We also look forward to discussing the information provided in this update with you if you wish.

May we please ask a favor? Your congregations may not be very familiar with the resources we have to offer them. Because they are likely to look first to their Regional or Area office for information, would you be willing to add links to Disciples Church Extension Fund ( and Hope Partnership ( on your website? Thank you!

Disciples Church Extension Fund

Our advisors are returning from meeting with the Regional and Area ministers in their zones with greater insights into the concerns and developments of the congregations in those respective Regions and Areas. Thank you taking the time to share. Please feel free to reach out to your zone advisor with any additional thoughts or information that might help them help you and your churches.

Their assignments are:
Northeast Inter-Regional FellowshipBelinda King(also serving Assemblies)
SouthEast Regional FellowshipMaribeth Westerfield
Heartland Regional FellowshipJim Michel
Regions of the Sun Equipping and ServingMaribeth Westerfield
Western Regions in MinistryRosario Ibarra (also serving Hispanic Convenciones)

For a limited time, we are providing several services to Disciples congregations at NO COST. They are:
Building Committee Orientation Service (Regularly $500-700)

  • Provides congregational building committees with guidelines for hiring and managing an architect, and information about construction delivery methods.

Site Consultation (Regularly $500-700)

  • Helps congregations choose an appropriate site for a new location

Additional General Consultation (Regularly $500-700)

  • Provides a second consultation as a follow-up to an initial consultation (always provided at no cost to the congregation) that reviews a congregation’s ministry, finances and role of the building to serve that ministry. It also assesses the financial capacity and needs for starting a new project.

Building Planning Service (Regularly $600-800)

  • Helps congregations evaluate the suitability and condition of their building for their current mission and ministry.

If you know churches that might benefit from any of these services, please feel free to share this opportunity with them.

We received good feedback from our recent JumpStart! Indiana, hosted in cooperation with the Indiana Region and Episcopal Church Building Fund. The one-day workshop is designed to help congregations explore ways to enhance mission and generate revenue through creative use of building space. One participant shared, “This program should be required for every incoming Moderator, Treasurer and Property Chair.” Please connect with me at [email protected], 800.274.1883, ext. 2513, if you think you might be interested in partnering with us to host this ecumenical event in your Area or Region.

DCEF is presenting in a DOC talk and a number of workshops in the Administration track at General Assembly. Join us!


Hope Partnership

The registration deadline for Hope Partnership’s Leadership Academy is August 23, 2015. The Academy is Sept. 21-24, 2015 in Indianapolis, and is for lay and clergy:

new church leaders

transformational leaders

leaders of affiliating congregations (new to the Disciples of Christ)

leaders initiating faith-based health and social service enterprises

interim pastors

Prior to registration, new church leaders and planters-in-discernment must be approved by the Region or Area in which they plan to plant.


Visit or call 800.274.1883 for more information.

Hope Partnership welcomes Shernell Edney as Minister of Educational Services. In her new role, Shernell is responsible for creating and implementing all educational resources for Hope Partnership, including the Leadership Academy, Ambassadors Academy, and webinar and distance learning opportunities. She will also manage Hope Partnership’s ministry planning and congregational future discernment services. Shernell is ordained through the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ, Eastern Virginia Association. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Communications from Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and her Masters Degree in Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Care from Virginia Union University (Richmond, Virginia).

Hope Partnership is currently retooling our MissionPathways ministry planning service. The service will entail a six-month to one-year-long process broken down into three phases, with a Hope Partnership-led retreat in the middle and a year of coaching by Hope Partnership-trained coaches. Ruth Fletcher, Montana’s Regional minister, has been working with Hope Partnership’s Rick Morse on the redesign of this self-led process, which promises to be an excellent approach to ministry planning. Piloting will take place with four congregations, beginning in September. Look for Rick Morse in Hope Partnership’s General Assembly exhibit for more information about the new MissionPathways and how it might benefit your congregations in the future.

Hope Partnership is presenting in a number of workshops in the Innovate track at General Assembly. Join us!


Christ’s blessings,

Rick Reisinger, President Disciples Church Extension Fund

Gilberto Collazo, President
Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation


Source: Regional and Area Update June 2015