The Conference Connectional Table (CCT) met October 7th by Zoom for the third of its quarterly meetings in 2021. A meeting summary follows.
LOVE FEAST / OPENING REMARKS
To open the meeting, CCT members celebrated a Love Feast. Bishop Fairley reminded members that the disciples only recognized the risen Christ when they sat at the table and He broke bread with them. So, Bishop Fairley asked, where have you recognized Jesus lately?
UPDATES ON OUR ANTI-RACISM WORK
- So far, 220 people have taken the IDI, representing all eight districts. Our goal is to have 800 people within the next year. If you have not participated in the IDI, we invite you to do so.
- More anti-racism training dates have been set with Changing the Lens. Registration is online.
- November 16th at 9:00-3:30 (BIAS covering both explicit and implicit bias)
- December 7th– 8th at 9:00-3:30 (ZOOM LENS covering the history of racism and slavery in America, and touching on the church’s role and responsibility with the issue of racism)
- An eight-week Zoom study, Healing Haunted Histories, started October 16th.
THEMES FOR OUR JOURNEY
The CCT approved Grace for the Future as our quadrennium theme. Grace for the Future would be an overarching theme over the four years, but each Annual Conference event will take on a particular means of grace as its individual theme.
- 2021: Graceful Justice (Baptism)
- 2022: Graceful Hospitality (Communion)
- 2023 Graceful Surrender (Prayer)
- 2024 Graceful Worship (Worship)
NAME CHANGE FOR RACIAL EQUITY & JUSTICE MINISTRY TEAM
Because racial equity references only one type of equity, the CCT approved a name change to Race Equity and Justice Ministries. The new name is broader, encompassing equity among gender, rural vs. urban, race, and differently abled people. The CCT agreed by thumbs up.
CLERGY CARE FOCUS GROUPS
Recently, Gray Southern, Assistant to the Bishop & Conference Secretary; Beth Hood, Assistant to the Bishop for Clergy Life; and Leah Wiebe-Smith, Director of the Center for Leadership Excellence, met to discuss how to care more deeply for our clergy, particularly in light of the challenging ministry season for the past 18+ months. With recommendations from district superintendents and the clergy’s own interest in participation, five clergy focus groups were formed to foster discussion around where they are thriving and where they need assistance. The groups meet through Zoom with Leah as the conference staff facilitator. Their comments were noted without name to preserve privacy. That information has been compiled and presented to the Leadership Team.
CCT members in small groups to discuss specific actions the CCT can take that will:
- foster and uplift connectionalism
- assist local churches in developing and building internal/external relations
- encourage leading in new ways
- help foster unity, equity, and justice in our local congregations, and
- encourage vibrant and meaningful worship for the transformation of God’s world
- The budgeting process for 2024 will soon be underway. In a few weeks, committees will prepare their budget request to submit to their CCT ministry team for approval. After approval by the appropriate ministry team, the 204 budgets move to the CCT for approval in February 2022.
- Currently, our remittances for next year’s budget are about 6% ahead of where we were last year at this time, when we were about 5% down from the previous year.
- We still have funding available from the CFA supplement, as well as what was given from the Board of Pension and the Insurance Committee, to assist churches in recovery from the pandemic. Churches may request these funds to assist paying insurance premiums and pension contributions.
- As year-end approaches, we will continue tracking our progress toward reaching our budgetary goals for 2022.
The next CCT meeting is scheduled for December 9th.
Under the structure of the North Carolina Conference, the Connectional Table provides a forum for the understanding, casting forth, and implementation for the vision of the conference. It is the place where ministry and money come to the same table to coordinate the mission, ministries, and resources of the conference.