A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Message from Vic Casad: Jan. 30, 2018
Notes from the Heartland
Last week was the first official ingathering of the Bishop and the Cabinet in the New Year, and I’m trying to process the past several days.
It started Monday morning with the extended Cabinet meeting with Suzanne Stabile to learn about the Enneagram and claiming our Enneagram number. For your information I’m a “self-identified” nine. For those of you who know anything about “9s” then you are aware of some of my shortcomings: my procrastination and conflict avoidance issues. But then, every number on the Enneagram has its own set of shortcomings and concerns. It was a reminder to all of us that none of us is perfect, and yet a little self-awareness can go a long way. Being able to identify areas of our personalities that need extra attention to nudge us a little closer to the goal of the upward call of God is a good thing.
I could tell you Bishop McKee’s number, but I’m not. You will have to ask him.
Tuesday was Clergy Covenant Day at FUMC Richardson. Bishop Robert Schnase of the Rio Texas Conference was our presenter. Bishop Schnase read three personal stories about growing up in South Texas and what it was like living on the Texas-Mexico border. These narratives were beautifully written about the many years it took him to learn to speak Spanish; of a horrific murder of a Mexican family in his county when he was a boy that has never been solved; and being a pastor of a church in McAllen when a young Mexican mother crossed the border into his office requesting he baptize her baby.
These brief descriptions don’t begin to reveal the full drama and pathos within these stories. After each reading we reflected together in our table group about what it means to cross borders in our ministry. What it means to get out of our comfort zone and engage with people whom we rarely encounter in our daily work.
I learned a lot from my table group: Marie Mitchell from The Woods UMC in Grand Prairie; Pamela Clark from Lake Highlands UMC; Dana Coker, FUMC Bonham; Jay Cousino, Button Memorial UMC in Little Elm; Preston Weaver, St. Paul UMC, downtown Dallas; Keith Boone, University Park UMC; and April Bristow, FUMC Richardson. The range of life and ministry experience around the table was vast, and everyone had poignant personal stories to tell about crossing borders of interracial and intercultural divides.
Wednesday and Thursday the appointive Cabinet met in “The Vault” (Brene Brown’s term for trust and confidentiality) for the annual review called “Inventory.” This is when we look at the possible appointment changes in the year ahead. It is an intense time of centering into the right frame of mind for discerning all that is before us. These sessions are exhausting; eight-hour days of concentrated focus on the mission, the churches and the clergy who might be affected by certain appointment moves.
Then Saturday was our annual District Training Day at FUMC Sulphur Springs. I want to thank our special guests once again for coming to be with us; Owen Ross, the Center Director for Congregational Development; Marti Soper the C.D. for Leadership Development; Jodi Smith, the C.D. for Connectional Resources; and Andy Lewis the C.D. for Missional Outreach and the Assistant to the Bishop. Each of our presenters shared with us in a plenary and in breakout sessions the work of their Centers and how what they do affects and resources local churches in our conference.
I still have a lot to process from such a full and content rich week, but with the way this week has started it may be a while. I get easily distracted. I am a 9 you know.
In His Service and Yours,