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The Christian September 2018

By September 4, 2018 news, The Christian

We are almost at our 2018 Regional Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois and Wisconsin. Like the earth around us, we are a dynamic eco-system of 135 congregations and ministries. And, like the wonderful song says, “I need you, you need me, we are all a part of God’s body. Stand with me. Agree with me. We are all part of God’s body. You are important to me. We need each other to survive.” And, to thrive. Our theme for this year’s assembly is Rise Up! There are implications in those words: resurrection power; prophetic engagement; and, a movement toward wholeness. Those words signify effort, like the effort portrayed poignantly in the music video by Andra Day. Daily, people put forth extraordinary efforts to Rise Up and live. We hope you will find this assembly a catalyst for your personal and congregational call to Rise Up!. Since our last Assembly we engaged in a study discernment process seeking God’s call for our region. Out of that process, we have a new Vision, Mission and initiatives. Our mission; To connect and empower Disciples congregations for life-changing and life-giving ministries in our evolving world. The work on our initiatives has already begun.

First, we are focusing on communication ministry and have called the Rev. Angelique “Angee” Jordan Byrd to lead us. We know that 75% of people looking for a church are making the connection through the internet. If our congregations are going to thrive in this new media world, we need to learn how to share and tell our stories. Angee and her team have launched a “Call to Socialize” to connect our congregations at the first basic level. At this assembly you can take the next step and “Join Us at the Table.” This is a chance to share life-giving, life-changing stories. We will be making these stories available through a new media hub called: livegivinglifechanging.org. These stories are for you to use and share. We’re done being the best kept secret.

Second, we are focusing on ministries with Children, Youth and Young Adults. The Rev. Eli Rolon has been engaged to create, renew, and bring wholeness to this ministry area. Eli is networking with youth leaders, campers, counselors, and congregations as he begins his work. Be ready to lend your support and leadership.

Third, we are encouraging New Church/Ministries with the support of the Rev. Jeff Zimmerman and the Rev. Dr. Tom Yang who is our CCIW North American, Asian Pacific Disciples minister. Korean house churches, storytelling/gardening/meet in the local pub churches, dinner churches, Puerto Rican diaspora churches, Chicago south side meeting in the safe zones churches are among our newest Disciple communities.

Fourth, we are developing a Service, Learning and Mission team (SLAM) to encourage region wide efforts at local disaster response, global engagement, spiritual pilgrimage and learning. We are fortunate to have the Rev. Bill Kerns, Pastor at Davis Memorial Christian Church in Taylorville as the coordinator of this effort. He needs your help. Volunteer today!

Fifth, we continue to work at Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism. And, have recently added a task group to support LGBTQ+ Alliance ministries in our region. If you are interested in resources for taking part in the graceful conversation see Inclusion on our website ministries list.

Sixth, we are creating an ecumenical School for Ministry focusing on raising up leaders from and for our smaller rural congregations. Equipping leaders for empowered an authorized leadership.

Last, but ultimately, first, we continue the focus of New Day—a deep spiritual formation process for leaders as a pathway of personal and congregational transformation.

We do this, because we want to Rise Up! to be a radically welcoming Region of connected Disciples congregations, radiating the Creator’s love, continuing Christ’s mission, and following the Spirit’s call. (Vision 2018)

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