Forward Together—Faithful Witness,
One of the wonders of Regional Ministry is being able to witness the life and faith of the church in all of its manifestations. Week by week, my Associate, Scott Woolridge, and I travel around our region to different worship settings. We meet with search committees, vision teams, boards. We go to congregational gatherings and hear the stories of the church at work. Stories of faithful witness abound, as do the concerns for the “future” of our church.
Regional ministry also includes a host of committees and task groups. One is the Ministry Committee. The task of this committee is to encourage candidates for ministry and to uphold “fitness” for ministry. We have the opportunity to meet seminary students and commissioned ministry candidates. It is refreshing to hear the stories of God’s call and to witness development of leaders into that calling. There is hope in the voices we hear.
We also know we need to raise up ministers for non-traditional/bi-vocational calling/part time positions. And, the cost of education makes it almost impossible to serve part time. This is another opportunity for you to be in prayer.
As your Regional Minister, I also witness the work of the wider church. Recently, at our Disciple Divinity House/UChicago Trustees meeting I had the chance to listen to the work of the House/School in partnership with a German Theological School in Heidelberg. The students were sharing their observations. A young German theological student said that conversation about race is different in his country. There is an awareness of a traumatic genocidal history, and a deep humility based on that awareness. He told us that it was even a difficult decision to wave the German flag when the German team won the World Cup. (Imagine that.)
As I listened to his perspective, I couldn’t help but wonder in our climate of nationalism, if we have forgotten the simple humility of being followers of Jesus? As Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness is a fragmented world, where all are welcomed at the Table as we have been welcomed, I believe that is a particularly poignant question for us to consider. It may indeed be the question of our time. And, yet again, another opportunity for prayer.
In other news from around the region . . .
A reminder: our Study and Discernment Committee has held conversations around the region in an effort to bring clarity to our Vision as a regional church. The fruit of clear vision will be an opportunity to structure and staff for where God is calling us to be present in mission for our changing world. We will be in retreat on Feb. 10-11. Prayers please!
And, we welcome the Rev. Hyoung Chel “Tom” Yang as our CCIW NAPAD Pastor. Tom is working with our Asian Disciple congregations and coordination with NAPAD. (North American, Pacific Asian/Island Disciples). Tom can be reached at [email protected]
We have two Interim contract staff to help with specific ministries. Rev. Dr. Beth Rupe, Disciple Women’s Ministry, [email protected]; Rev. Tim Akers, Regional Youth Council and Youth Committee; [email protected].
You can follow all the news of the region by subscribing to our weekly eNews. Visit our website at cciwdisciples.org to subscribe.
P.S. It is important for you to know that currently we have 22 congregations in the process of search and call. Each situation is unique with its own set of challenges. Many are part time positions. Many are in struggling communities. Finding candidates willing to serve can be a challenge. This is one opportunity for you to be in prayer for your neighbor congregations.
We’re so thankful for you, and will continue to pray that the Lord will continue to inspire and guide you to fulfil the task before you!
Much Love, Donald and Betty Tharp
Your faith and witness inspire all of us. You and Scott bring the rich spirit of Christ to the CCIW church!
Thanks for insight on race from a German perspective. I pray for a spirit of humility for our nation.
Thanks for the good work the region is doing. I look at the seed that Scott gave me at the 2014 Regional Assembly daily and lift all of you up in prayer. That seed is very powerful.
Rev. Amy E. Booker-Hirsch