Members of the Eastern PA Conference’s Connectional Table focused on enhancing their collaboration among ministries when they met Jan. 31 in a retreat setting at Camp Innabah.
The Rev. Robert Wilt, chairperson, led about three dozen of the conference and district ministry leaders through creative group-exercises, goal-setting and planning discussions, and ministry reports. Their activities and overarching theme were drawn from Ephesians 4:16, 13: “Knit together to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.”
The assembly explored how they can better live out the Connectional Table’s purpose, which is to oversee and connect diverse ministries of the conference in ways that provide coordination and support and help accomplish the conference’s overall mission foci: to develop new places and new leaders for ministry, to improve global health and to share in transformative ministry with the poor.
“We’re a ministry of the called who are called to support ministry in local churches,” Wilt asserted, in remarks that helped cast a vision for the body, which meets only several times a year.
Members also received a preview report from Mary White on a proposal coming to General Conference in 2016. It would restructure the denomination and its legislative body more globally by convening U.S. and non-U.S. Central Conference delegates separately in their respective regions and making the quadrennial General Conference sessions less U.S.-focused. White serves on the General Council on Finance and Administration.
Amid the serious dialogue, there was laughter and levity in the agenda, including the collaborative exercises, fellowship over lunch and a musical interlude of camp songs led by the Rev. Steward Warner, who chairs the Board of Camp & Retreat Centers. Members also prayed with and for one another individually before gathering in a prayer circle to close their meeting.