On Jan. 6, 2021, Epiphany in the Church year, I returned a phone call to my colleague Rev. Eugene James, Regional Minister for the Christian Church Michigan Region. He had asked me a few weeks earlier to consider partnering as the regional minister for Michigan when he retired at the end of 2021. I told him I would study the “Vision” and pray about it. On Jan. 6, I called to give him my answer, “I am willing to be in conversation.”
It is ten months later, and it seems we are a world away from all that was happening that day. One thing was constant, we have continued in prayer and conversation. Both of our regional governing bodies have voted to be in covenant partnership—not a merger. At the September Michigan regional assembly, the delegates officially affirmed our path forward.
On Jan, 1, 2022, this covenant partnership begins. Here are two highlights for the beginning of 2022:
Sunday, Jan. 2 is Covenant Sunday. We have a team creating worship resources for you to use. There will be a brief video that humorously tells the story of our coming together. (This is not a merger!) The video concludes with a sermon from me based on Isaiah 42:9—
See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
I tell you of them.
We will have and a litany of covenant and a written prayer from our General Minister and President, Rev. Terri Hord Owens for your bulletin. We are inviting Disciple congregations in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin to use these resources that first Sunday. It is our gift to our Pastors and worship leaders. You can just push play!
For now, plan to use the worship resources on Jan. 2. They will be up on our regional websites in November.
Monday, April 18- Wednesday, April 20, 2022. A joint clergy retreat at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, MI. Rev. Dr. David Anderson Hooker will be our guest presenter on Tuesday helping us to consider our stories within the narratives that shape us. This will be a time to create community with each other, relax, eat good food, play, and let down our cares. As of now, CCIW will have three church vans/buses going from the north, central and south areas of our region. This will be valuable time away.
We have called Rev. N. Alex Ruth to be our Associate Regional Minister for Transformation. He will have responsibility for the Lincoln Douglas, ROCC, Wabash, Lakeland and Southern Clusters. (See his bio in this Christian)
All active and serving Disciple Commissioned and Ordained ministers must renew their standing annually. November is the month! Please go to our website for information on the process.