By Leah J. Hileman
The Review and Evaluation Committee has met twice this fall to begin the work given to them by the Annual Conference. The first meeting was a conference call in late October, which focused on understanding the full scope of the mandate. The second meeting occurred Dec. 1-2 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The committee comprises Tim Harvey (chair), Leah J. Hileman (recorder), Robert Kettering, David K. Shumate, and Ben Barlow.
During the December meeting, the group spent significant time considering denominational structure and programs and prioritizing the items of our mandate that we believe require greater attention than others.
Considerable time was spent compiling an initial list of persons at every level of church life and structure to be interviewed. This list is merely a starting point for conversation. The ultimate goal is to creatively solicit feedback from as many people as possible related to questions of the effectiveness of existing church structure. We are developing a process for information/feedback gathering including but not limited to: online feedback forms, personal interviews, e-mail surveys, and an Annual Conference hearing.
The Review and Evaluation committee also feels strongly that we want to dialogue with the Viability and Vitality Committee. These groups are two sides of the same coin; much of what they discover will affect future Review and Evaluation Committee goals and outcomes. As we examine existing structures, we recognize that a key component of whatever we do involves a spiritual dimension that needs to be kept in the forefront of our minds.
The Review and Evaluation Committee plans to meet again Jan. 3-4 in Bridgewater, Va., and again in March at a meeting that will coincide with the spring meeting of the Mission and Ministry Board.
-- Leah J. Hileman is a Church of the Brethren minister and a member of the Review and Evaluation Committee.