In March of 2017 I wrote a newsletter lead that revealed how strongly I felt about the possibility of the Rhode Island Conference UCC, the Massachusetts Conference UCC, and the Connecticut Conference UCC coming together into one new entity that we are calling Together, As One. I write again this week, with the Tri-Conference Annual Meeting coming up in less than two weeks. On Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16, 2018 we will gather once again for the second year in a row as three separate United Church of Christ Conferences in Southern New England at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA. On that Saturday morning each of our Conferences will hold Annual Meetings. Final votes on the legal documents will be taken that will without a doubt change the course of the future for our three Conferences.
When I came aboard as your Interim Conference Minister in August of 2014 I had no idea that I might still be walking with you after nearly four years of discernment about the future of this Rhode Island Conference and the possibilities for our three Conferences! I have been moved by this unique opportunity to continue walking right up to this historic vote in Springfield on June 16th. I have been privileged to serve among you through this time of discernment. I am profoundly thankful that my final years of active ministry in the United Church of Christ has given me the opportunity to help the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ move into a new future. I would love to help bring God’s kin-dom into this place and this time – in southern New England in the 21st century. What a unique opportunity we have at the meeting on June 16th. It has been a privilege to work with the Together, As One Team over these many months and to imagine together what it might be like to do Conference differently!
I will reiterate what I said last year as I anticipated the first Tri-Conference Annual Meeting: I believe and trust that God is calling the Rhode Island Conference into a new future. I believe and trust that this future will challenge all of us with new vision and new ways. I believe and trust that the shared and combined resources of our three historic UCC Conferences (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) can empower greater ministry than any one of us could imagine or accomplish separately. I believe and trust that if we come together as one Together, As One Conference that we can indeed be stronger, bolder, more faithful, and even more vital! I am very much in favor of coming Together, As One!
I continue to pray that this year’s historic meeting of our three Conferences will prove fruitful for all of us. Each of our RI UCC churches has the privilege to send the following to the June 15 & 16 meeting in Springfield, MA:
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