August offered numerous opportunities to connect with people from around conference. Leadership teams met at Amigo Centre the third weekend for the second annual leadership retreat. John Powell, Doug Kaufman and Dan Miller headed north for various reasons immediately afterward, and were all present for the closing service at Hilltop Fellowship in Petoskey on August 23. Even in the midst of marking the end of the congregation, there was celebration about the lives that have been touched and the ministry done there since 1950. A number of people who grew up in the congregation returned to be part of the events. If interested there are several pictures on our Facebook page.

John and Dan met with leaders of Grand Marais Mennonite to discuss their mission in the community and their questions about conference affiliation. It’s a beautiful area, and the hospitality is good. Stop in for a visit when you head to the UP for vacation. John continued in the north for a week to connect with leaders in northern Michigan.

There have been Journey preparations, as September 11-13 is the fall Weekend Learning Event. Several people who want to begin Journey will begin in February. Conference ministers offer leadership for various activities on Saturday. Who in your congregation would benefit from this conference-based leadership program? Indiana-Michigan has one person beginning this fall and several more that may begin in February. See the www.ambs.edu/journey for more information.

Dan met with the Mid-States leadership group (Illinois, Ohio, IN-MI and Central District conference ministers and moderators). This has been a great time of sharing and learning from one another over the years. At this time both Illinois and Ohio are experiencing change in conference ministers, so we are holding lightly the future of this meeting to evaluate its ongoing usefulness.

Vanessa is coordinating activities for the office. When calling the office with a question, she is the person pointing you toward your answer. She sent the annual leadership forms earlier this fall. Has your congregation updated and returned the form? She is completing an updated directory which will go to the printer soon. She also continues to be more involved in the development of Gospel Evangel. The September/October issue should be in church mailboxes soon!

September 21 is a Pastor Sabbath Day. We don’t often have conference-wide pastor gatherings. However, pastors often find themselves in the center of these anxious times and we felt it appropriate to call pastors together for a time of rest and renewal. We don’t intend for this to be another business meeting. We want to see if we can live into a different way of being together, one that welcomes God’s Spirit, one that is different than how we have gathered in the past. Please pray for the preparations and for the gathering itself.

Dan is beginning to attend area council meetings across northern Indiana and plans to be there quarterly. He also attended the annual retreat of youth ministers from across conference. Several good conversations have grown out of those times together.

Doug continues planning for his sabbatical which will be mid-January to Mid-April.

John Powell is opening conversations with Michigan pastors about the best way to organize for accountability and support as they seek to engage their communities. He has called a meeting for September 24 to begin this conversation in a face-to-face setting.

 

Seeking congregational stories for Gospel Evangel

Staff are always watching for stories of congregations being changed by mission. This direction we’ve set for ourselves is sometimes bumpy and challenging, sometimes rewarding and nourishing. Stories of what is being learned and how it impacts congregational reality help everyone know we are not alone in the journey.

 

Seeking someone with experience in WordPress

Conference is looking for someone with knowledge and experience in WordPress that would be available to volunteer their time for occasional questions. If you are interested, please contact the conference office at 534-4006 or imoffice@im.mennonite.net.

Posted September 9, 2015 by Anna Buck