Sep 15, 2017

United in Christ, Committed to Transformation

Creating Disciples, Celebrating Diversity,
Connecting Communities, Committing to Love and Justice

April 11, 2017

Greetings, friends.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church has a new Vision Statement and Mission Statement that we present to you now and will present to our Annual Conference on June 15, 2017.

For the past three months, members of the conference’s Connectional Table, Connectional Ministries staff and Extended Cabinet have labored in a lengthy but fruitful process of study, discernment, discussion, negotiation and collaboration. The goal that inspired us was to devise a unifying understanding and verbal expression of our identity as a conference and ultimately, our way forward as we seek to live into and out of that identity.

Ably facilitating that process for us was the Rev. Glenn Catley, a consultant and retired pastor from Delaware, who helped the Peninsula-Delaware Conference undertake a similar endeavor. Assisted by his wife, Virginia Catley, Glenn has journeyed here several times to meet with our Extended Cabinet, staff and leaders of our Connectional Table. Together, we have worked to define in summary our core purpose and goals in concise but motivational terms that express the needs of our communities and the salient gifts, strengths, passions and concerns of our conference, its churches and its members.

This intense process of communal discernment, dialogue and decision-making was, in Glenn’s words, “for the purpose of shaping the story of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, to build trust among all participants and bring clarity to what we do together in response to God’s call.” During that journey, we explored themes, concepts and values of our faith and active discipleship in Christ, including diversity, justice, wholeness, community, collaboration, leadership, and love and service to God and one another.

We are grateful for all the leaders who participated in these deliberations and contributed much energy and many ideas to the process. A Vision Task Force of Connectional Table leaders, staff and the Extended Cabinet carefully considered those deliberations. They narrowed prevailing views down to meaningful but memorable vision and mission statements that could possibly capture the imaginations and touch the hearts of our conference’s membership, friends and supporters. At the same time, they understood that often—especially in the church—the new must be paired with the familiar to gain wide acceptance. So fortunately, the resulting statements dovetail well, in words and spirit, with The United Methodist Church’s denominational mission statement: “Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

So, we present to you, dear friends, our new Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Vision and Mission Statements:

United in Christ, Committed to Transformation

Creating Disciples, Celebrating Diversity,
Connecting Communities and Committing to Love and Justice

We invite you to reflect on these guiding statements and discuss them with others in your homes, churches and communities. Let us engage in ongoing, insightful conversation about what these statements can mean for us personally and for our churches, districts and conference. 

Moreover, while our joint efforts to cast these vision and mission statements have been fruitful, that is only the beginning task. Conference leaders must next develop necessary strategies and action plans, as we prayerfully pursue our vision and implement our mission. Ultimately, our hope is that across this broad, diverse Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, we can become a more dynamic, loving and just community of Christians who truly work together, united as disciples of Jesus Christ and committed to God’s transforming work in the world.

Faithfully yours!                                                                         

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, Episcopal Leader

The Rev. Dr. Christopher J. Kurien, Director, Connectional Ministries

The Rev. Robert J. Wilt, Chairperson, Connectional Table