By the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm
Eastern PA Conference Director of Connectional Ministry
One of the experiences I took for granted before the pandemic are church potluck dinners.
I fondly remember potlucks at the local church overflowing with dishes from each person’s culture, a feast brimming with colors and flavors. I would always chuckle when folks unacquainted with potlucks would worry that we would end up with a table full of jello salad, thinking everyone would bring the same dish. I would reassure these folks new to the Wesleyan way and say: “There will be enough. It will be a beautiful bounty.”
At every potluck meal I attended, there was always enough and all were fed. As adults, we know that sometimes folks would sacrifice as they went down the aisle, taking a little in order to make sure everyone could enjoy the feast. I especially love potlucks because each person takes time to prepare a dish, sharing their own time and talent so that all can be fed.
As I experience connectional ministries in the Eastern PA Conference, I see servants faithfully giving of their gifts so that our churches and communities can be fed. In the past month, a team of volunteers from all over our conference headed to Gilberton, PA, to respond to the recent flooding there. Our Disaster Response Team, in coordination with our Camp and Retreat Centers, also worked to provide hand sanitizer and masks for our churches.
Encuentro (Encounter), our Latino lay ministry training program, raised up 22 new church leaders. Our Urban Commission and Commission on Religion and Race offers resourcing to our churches as we continue to work to dismantle racism in our churches and communities.
As we face the current health pandemic and the intersecting pandemic of racism, we remember that we are a people bound together by Christ, united by our baptism. We do not walk alone. And we are truly #StrongerTogether.
My own life has been blessed by the connectional church. Had I not been exposed to the connectional church, I would likely not be serving in ministry.
Twenty five years ago, I was studying to be a forensic psychologist, working at Elmira Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison. My home pastor sent me a letter with an application for a General Board of Global Ministries short-term missionary program for young adults. If I had never received that letter and then entered into that program, I do not believe I would be serving the church today.
Through my service with Global Ministries I was blessed to see the beauty of the connectional church. As of July 1, I am blessed to be serving as the Director of Connectional Ministries for the Easter PA Conference, following my years of service as a district superintendent and pastor.
Jesus calls us to a connectional life, reminding us that every part of the body functions together. We exist for you, and we pray that as you experience us and the work we do, you will find an abundant, diverse feast of ministry resources, ideas and goodwill.
We also know that it will take willing, sacrificial servants with cruciform lives to lead our conference forward. We look forward to expanding our ministry as we work to live out our Eastern PA mission to Connect Communities, Celebrate Diversity, Create Disciples and Commit to Love and Justice.
Please know that the Office of Connectional Ministries exists to support the work of the local church. We welcome your feedback and your engagement, as we seek to provide a banquet of resourcing for your church and community where all can be fed.
Together in Ministry,