Mission First!

Posts Tagged ‘Sharon Watkins’

A note from the General Minister and President

Romans 15:4-7 and 13 (lectionary text for Dec. 4, 2016)

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God… 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

sharon-watkins2015Advent is the beginning of the church year, a season which begins focused on hope. This past weekend the Mission Council of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) listened together to the Spirit to discern a shared mission for Disciples. The Council heard God’s call to continue welcoming all God’s children to the Lord’s Table as Christ has welcomed us, going out into the world to care for Jesus in the person of the most vulnerable, working to address the causes of vulnerability in our culture.  We explored how these priorities might be expressed by ministering among children, youth and young adults in our communities.

We rejoiced in the Spirit’s presence in the music of our hearts and the words of our sisters and brothers, particularly those of Dr. Moiseraele Prince Dibeela, PhD, former general secretary of the United Congregational Churches of Southern Africa and now head of Tswang Learning Communities in Botswana. Dibeela’s words of challenge and comfort accompanied us throughout the weekend as we wrestled with the call, focusing on what we heard from the Mission Gatherings and the leading of the Spirit among us.

As we test and share refinements of these priorities with the various boards and ministries of the Church, we are confident God will show us the way to make connections toward wholeness and hope. – Sharon

September 23 Call to Prayer

By Sharon Watkins

Psalm 146:5-6

Happy are those … whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth … who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed …

Bombings and stabbings in the US, fires in Canada, an impending presidential election in one country that impacts the world. Anxiety seeps into the church. Psalm 146 declares we are right to care. The safety and well-being of our neighbors matters to God: food for the hungry, freedom for prisoners, sight for the blind, help for the stranger, the orphan and widow.

Psalm 146 urges us to trade stifling anxiety for freeing praise – praise for God “who made heaven and earth”, praise for God who “loves the righteous.” In our praising we find our hearts turning toward the things that God loves. We remember that God reigns. We find “happiness” “blessing”. Anxiety lifts; we offer ourselves to God for the work of God among God’s people. “Happy are those whose hope is in the Lord.”

Prayer: Dear God, you made the heavens and the earth, and every living being. You are awesome! Help me worry less and love you more. AMEN

If you would like to contribute a prayer prompt, e-mail for details.

Mission Council named

Meeting by conference call on Tuesday, Feb. 23, the General Board of the Christian Church approved the individuals nominated to the Mission Council for the Mission First! pilot project. They will meet in December 2016 to receive the information from the Mission Gatherings and discern one or more key mission areas. They are as follows:

Moderators
Tony Rodriguez 50-59, Hispanic/Latino, Male, Layperson, FL
Tom Perring 50-59, Caucasian, Male, Layperson, PSW
Mary Lou Kegler 60-69, African American, Clergy, GKC
Sue Morris 50-59, Caucasian, Female, Layperson, NE
Congregational members
Jonathan (Jon) Blackwood 50-59, Caucasian, Male, Layperson, GA
Shanell Bowden 23-29, African American, Female, Layperson, IL/WI
Delores Carpenter 60+, African American, Female, Clergy, CCCA
Hope Casey-Allen 18-22, Multi-racial, Female, Layperson, IN
Peggy Chandler 60+, Caucasian, Female, Layperson, GKC
Jeremy DeWitt 30-39, African American, Male, Layperson, TN
Aura Yolanda Estrada 40-49, Hispanic/Latino, Female, Layperson, SW
Nestor Gomez Morales 40-49, Hispanic/Latino, Male, Clergy, CRM
Steven Gower 30-39, Caucasian, Male, Clergy, OH
Arnold Hayes 60+, African American, Male, Layperson, TN
Jennie S. Huang 40-49, Asian, Female, Clergy, SW
Matthew Hudman 30-39, Caucasian, Male, Layperson, SW
Delesslyn Kennebrew 30-39, African American, Female, Clergy,
Mayon Marcelino 30-39, Filipino, Male, Layperson, CAN
Carolyn McLemore 60+, American Indian/First Nations, Female, Layperson, OK
Jaclyn Oden-Peace 18-22, Mixed, Female, Layperson, SW
Sarah Page Jones 18-22, Caucasian, Female, Layperson,
Dawn Robinette 50-59, Caucasian, Female, Layperson, FL
Regional representatives
Greg Alexander 60+, Caucasian, Male, Clergy, KY
Thad Allen 40-49, Caucasian, Male, Clergy, WV/PA
Denise Bell 50-59, African American, Female, Clergy, GA
Nadine Burton 50-59, African American, Female, Clergy, GRR
LaTaunya Bynum 60+, African American, Female, Clergy, NCA/NV
Teresa Dulyea-Parker 50-59, Caucasian, Female, Clergy, IL/WI
Allen Harris 50-59, Caucasian, Male, Clergy, CCCA
Sotello Long 50-59, African American, Male, Clergy, SC
Bill Spangler-Dunning 40-49, Caucasian, Male, Clergy UMW
Cathy Myers Wirt 50-59, Caucasian, Female, Clergy, OR/SID
Higher education
Jon Berquist 50-59, Caucasian, Male, Clergy, PSW
Kelly Thompson 50-59, Caucasian, Female, Layperson, MidAm
General ministries (including Disciples Women and Disciples Men)
Gilberto Collazo 50-59, Hispanic/Latino, Male, Clergy, IN
Ron Degges 60+, Caucasian, Male, Clergy, IN
Chris Dorsey 40-49, African American, Male, Clergy, MI
Rebecca Hale 50-59, Caucasian, Female, Clergy, TN
Julia Brown Karimu 60+, African American, Female, Clergy, IN
Seung Un (Paul) Tche 40-49, Asian, Male, Clergy, IN
Denise Turner 40-49, Caucasian, Female, Clergy, NCA/NV
Brian Burton 30-39, African American, Male, Layperson, OH
Racial/Ethnic ministry representatives
Hector Velazquez 60+, Hispanic/Latino, Male, Clergy, SW
Geunhee Yu 60+, Asian, Male, Clergy, NCA/NV
Timothy James 60+, African American, Male, Clergy, IN
General Minister and President
Sharon Watkins 60+, Caucasian, Female, Clergy, IN

By the numbers

22 Males; 24 Females

3 are 18-22; 1 is 23-29; 6 are 30-39; 8 are 40-49; 16 are 50-59; 12 are 60+

14 are African American; 1 is American Indian/First Nations; 4 are Asian; 20 are Caucasian; 5 are Hispanic/Latino; 2 are Multi-racial

18 Lay; 28 Clergy

Regional composition

1 Canada 2 Northern Calif./Nevada
2 Capital Area 1 Nebraska
1 Cent. Rocky Mtn. 2 Ohio
2 Florida 1 Oklahoma
3 Georgia 1 Oregon/S. Idaho
1 Great River 2 Pacific Southwest
2 Greater Kansas City 1 South Carolina
2 Illinois/Wisconsin 5 Southwest
8 Indiana 3 Tennessee
1 Kentucky 1 Upper Midwest
1 MidAmerica 1 Virginia
1 Michigan 1 West Virg./Pennsylvania

Background

At the 2015 General Board Meeting, GB-15-0934 Report of the Mission Council Task Force was approved. This approval included receipt of the actual task force report, approval of the Mission First! concept and authorization of the pilot of the Mission First! process in 2016.

In the Mission Council Task Force Report, Appendix 2, the membership of the Mission Council for the pilot is defined as follows:

The Mission Council will be composed of forty-six (46) members:

appointed by the College of Regional Ministers;

 

Oct. 23 Call to Prayer

by Sharon Watkins

 

Joel 2: 28 New Revised Standard Version
“Then afterward I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”

After a time of trial God promised a period of bounty – and a time when all God’s children would have Spirit-inspired, fresh, clear-eyed vision. Where are we in this cycle now? Trial? Bounty? It could be argued either way, I suppose. The Apostle Peter picked up the theme on the day of the church’s birth (Acts 2) – when the Disciples caught the Spirit’s fire and burst out of doors, into the streets to proclaim the living love of God. Peter promised that Spirit-inspired, fresh, clear-eyed vision is available in every age when we open ourselves to God’s leading.

  • Clear your mind of the clutter of schedule, to do lists and worries. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be in an attitude of expectation that God will bring you a vision, a dream for our church. Write down what comes to your mind in this time of prayer. Return to it throughout this week.
  • Pray that your vision will be ripen and mature.
Prayer: Dear God, in this season of Mission First, bring me fresh vision to share. AMEN