It’s church conference season.
This past weekend seven of us from CMC went up to Milwaukee
to attend the Central District Conference annual gathering. There are 45 congregations within CDC, including
three new members, affirmed by delegate vote: Americus (Georgia), Emmanuel
(Sarasota, Florida), and Jubilee (Bellefontaine, Ohio).
CDC has a wide geographical range – from St. Paul, Minnesota
to Sarasota; from Ames, Iowa to Harrisonburg, Virginia. CMC is one of the larger congregations. The hosts, a small congregation that rents worship
space from the Lutheran church where we all gathered, joked that not so long
ago they had a meeting in which they joyfully realized, “We’re on the cusp of
The treasurer commented during his report that “A boring
financial report is a good financial report.”
Aside from a couple other humorous comments, it was a bit boring. CDC is financially healthy, supporting a full
time conference minister (Doug Luginbill) and administrator (Emma Hartman) and
various committees. Many of you met, or
at least saw, Doug at Mark’s ordination.
A healthy CDC is good for CMC. Because of denominational turmoil, with whole
conferences leaving and congregations re-aligning, conference has become an
important point of identity and support.
CDC is a pretty loose affiliation, as strong as the relationships we
tend. The main focus of gatherings like
this is hearing stories from one another’s settings, worship, and reflection on
a common theme. This year that theme was
“Come walk with us…to God knows where!”
This fits well with our own congregational journey. Who knows where this sanctuary work will lead
us? Who knows how these children among
us will instruct us? Who knows what will
be asked of us, what graces will come our way, in the months and years ahead? Five year plans can be valuable, and we may
be working toward one ourselves, but there’s something deeply spiritual – and
potentially freeing – about not knowing where we’re headed – in our own lives,
on a congregational and wider church level.
Look for upcoming conference news that will tell more about what
happened at the annual gathering.
Next week 13 of us (5 adults and 8 not-yet-adults) will head
to Kansas City for the Mennonite Church USA convention.