Education, Participation, Innovation and Communication … EPIC
In January, 2014, the Southwest Conference leaders gathered to discuss and plan ways to strengthen the churches relationships with one another. Unfortunately, local churches often feel as if they are providing ministries alone in a large community of need. While we know there are other UCC churches around us, we often feel so overwhelmed with our own issues and needs that we do not take the time to keep connections and communications open.
Our relationships with other UCC churches and the greater church are so important to our spiritual health as a community of faith. Just as our church strengthens our ability to cope with our personal lives by having others there to share in worship, to have prayer partners, to laugh and work, and to be there when our strength is weak, it is our responsibility to foster the same relationship between churches.
Leaders from across the SWC have committed to a three-year strategic plan to strengthen covenant among the members of the Conference. Our plan encompasses four areas:
- Education, to provide education on covenant relationships and realizing that many justice issues will require from us a concerted effort to shape new understandings out of old assumptions;
- Participation, utilizing our Mission Planning Board representatives to inspire clear, definable, and measurable benchmarks of participation in Conference-wide activities and commitments, and to assist in increasing participation of local churches in common mission areas;
- Innovation, opening our eyes to an ever changing world and assisting churches to meet the new needs of communities
- Communication, knowing that we seek full transparency at all times and will constantly need to improve the quality of our delivery systems to support the life and vitality of our local churches and their members.
* Synopsis by Gloria Smith, pastor of Encanto Community Church