The Conference Connectional Table (CCT) met November 14 at the Methodist Building in Garner.
The morning portion of the CCT meeting incorporated ZOOM conference calls with ministry committee chairpersons. Christian Formation, Leadership, and Outreach CCT team members conferenced with their respective committee chairpersons to:
- Ensure alignment between committee initiatives and the conference vision and emphases; and
- Provide chairpersons the opportunity to offer their programming ideas, to receive input on their budgeting priorities, and to identify to CCT team members what they need to implement their committee’s vision.
Stewardship CCT team members met separately October 30 for a budget review meeting with their committee chairpersons.
Ministry Update: Life Around the Table
Rev. Grace Hackney, founder and executive director of Life Around the Table explained their work as where these things overlap: creation care, spirituality, and food. They invite, equip, and encourage clergy and communities to eat together faithfully – to eat in ways that honor the intention God has for all creation.
Their work revolves around three components:
- Sabbath Life – Small cohorts of ministry professionals come apart to a farm site, one day a month for a year. This year, 30 clergy participated in cohorts of 10-12 people.
- Eating Together Faithfully – This is an interactive framework for conversation in congregations and communities. In April, Life Around the Table staff are training 20 practitioners to develop communities of practice.
- Preaching, Teaching and Consulting – Staff are available to deepen understanding of connections between food and faith.
Ministry Update: Conference Youth Ministries
Suzanne Cobb, chairperson of the NC Conference Council on Youth Ministries, presented an overview of conference youth activities which include six annual events plus Pilgrimage. Spiritual formation is a primary focus at these events, as well as social justice issues, missions, and leadership development. Although Pilgrimage has some paid staff, the other youth events are staffed solely by volunteers.
Conference youth have set a fundraising goal of $500,000 for storm recovery by June 2019. At Pilgrimage this past November, $40,880 was raised to meet this goal. With the generous dollar-for-dollar matching by the NC Conference, the amount was raised to $81,760.
Focus points include gaining more participation in these conference youth events from medium and large membership churches and a continued focus on building diversity.
Ministry Update: Disaster Response
Gary Locklear reported that disaster response teams are mucking houses from Hurricane Florence and now are spraying for mold. They are hoping to open at least four more sites and to expand the Fayetteville and Lumberton disaster response centers. The new Director of Disaster Ministries, Al Miller, started November 19th.
Bishop Hope celebrated the conference’s response to the disaster. “We have all turned to what is important at this time,” she said. “Our leadership has been advanced, and creativity inspires us as we realize ways we can do this in other areas.” District Christmas offerings will go to churches and parsonages with damage.
Ministry Update: Journey
Journey is a newly developed program that combines components of Disciple-Making Way, SHIFT, and Project Bountiful with themes of DEEPENDING our relationship with God, EQUIPPING formative leaders, and ENGAGING in ministry. The first cohort of churches will likely start in 2019 in the Sound district. Rev. Linda Taylor, district superintendent of the Sound district, and Rev. Dr. Avery Brown, presiding elder of the AMEZ Church, are enthusiastic about their communities working together on this journey.
Ministry Update: SBC21 / Fellows Program
Strengthening the Black Church is incorporating a modified Fellows program contextualized for their use. The plan includes involvement from three-to-five churches, with four retreats and a component for connecting with young adults, drawing students from Shaw and Duke Divinity School.
Next CCT Meeting: February 11, 2019