by Donita Keister
The Compelling Vision Process Team gathered for its first meeting April 17-19 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, lll. Kayla Alphonse, Kevin Daggett, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Brian Messler, Alan Stucky, and Kay Weaver joined with Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya, moderator-elect Donita Keister, and director Chris Douglas to form the nine-person team.
This group brought a diversity of gifts and perspectives as it worked to lay out a general roadmap for the development of a compelling vision for the Church of the Brethren. This first meeting was led by Keister, who guided the team through its first stages of planning and the calling of the chair. Pittman Gingrich was called to be chair, and will work in partnership with the Annual Conference moderator to lead the work of the team going forward.
The team looks forward to beginning the compelling vision journey at this summer’s Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, where approximately three hours of the business sessions will be devoted to compelling vision conversations.
Information gathered at the 2018 Conference will guide additional conversations in many places where Brethren will gather across the denomination this fall and winter. The team is committed to gathering input from a wide range of people in a variety of settings, and is working with the Council of District Executives to provide opportunities in every district for as many Brethren as possible to contribute to the conversations. One of the first opportunities will be National Youth Conference in Colorado on July 21-26, where the team is working in cooperation with NYC leadership to engage youth in conversations about their vision for the church.
Information about what is heard in these many conversations will be gathered and shared at Annual Conference in 2019, where it is hoped that much of the business time can be devoted to listening to one another and continuing the work of shaping a compelling vision for the Church of the Brethren.
The Compelling Vision Process Team will finish its work in the months following the 2019 Conference, as it works with the Compelling Vision Working Group (formed from members of the denomination’s Leadership Team and Council of District Executives) to eventually articulate the resulting vision to the whole church.
The team is humbled by the call to work together on this challenging and exciting task. Prayers are sought and appreciated for the team and the process itself, that the Spirit of God may be felt moving in our midst.
-- Donita Keister is serving as moderator-elect of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. She will be moderator of the 2019 Conference.