My first newsletter! As you have been, Immanuel Church, please continue to be as forgiving as you have been with my worship leadership. I am most impressed by how willing you all are to work for the church. No wonder you’ve accomplished so much with Rev. Ron. Thanks for the warm welcome.
It was my privilege to attend the 54th Annual Meeting of the South Central Conference at the Cathedral of Hope UCC, Dallas, Texas, on June 9-10. About 140 clergy, lay delegates, and visitors attended the spirit-filled meeting. Immanuel UCC, Spring, Texas was represented at the meeting by Rev. Ron and Sue Krueger and Rev. Bill and Gail Royster as well as myself, your Sabbatical Minister. In addition to listening to Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, a Presbyterian (USA) minister who writes, speaks, and teaches on the topic of ministering to a new generation of Christians, deliver her keynote message on alternative worship settings I attended two workshops – Rev. Scott Spence’s “Reaching out to Younger Adults (I brought my notes back to share with Immanuel’s Evangelism team) and Rev. Dr. Don Longbottom and Rev. Ron Trimmer’s workshop and discussion on the “Future of the Church.”
During the Friday night meal that most of us attended, the former pastor of Immanuel Spring, Rev. John and Han Will, were honored for their many years in active ministry. Also Rev. Ron accepted a Certificate of Appreciation to Immanuel Church given by the SCC in thanks for your generous donation to OCWM (Our Church’s Wider Mission).
The highlight of the meeting for me was worshipping together in the beautiful Cathedral of Hope sanctuary at both the Opening Worship when Rev. Lee Ann Bryce preached on “Passionate Protest” and the Closing Worship when Rev. Carol Howard Merritt preached on Genesis 21:8-20, “Hope is A Thing With Feathers.” Sharing Holy Communion
with my clergy associates and lay friends was a spiritual experience that is hard to define.
Highlights of the business meetings included the adoption of changes to the SCC Constitution and By-Laws as approved by our Houston Association, a vote to accept the Board of Directors’ recommendation that Rev. Dr. Don Longbottom be elected as the South Central Conference's Settled Conference Minister, and adoption of a resolution "Creating a Better Nation for All: A Call to Sacred Resistance and Extravagant Welcome,” which I presented to Immanuel’s Consistory at their meeting on June 11. This resolution will be presented to our UCC’s national meetings at the end of June. Next year's annual SCC meeting will be hosted by the Heart of Texas Association and held at Camp Allen.
As always, one of my joys is reconnecting with friends from all over the SCC, listening to their stories of their families and their churches, and sharing inspirations from the meeting. I was proud to be associated with Immanuel Church, United Church of Christ, Spring, Texas.