November 30, 2010

A few weeks ago, I wrote about attending a program given by Cami Walker, whose book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, is an invitation to give some kind of a gift for 29 days to persons encountered day to day. I decided to take the challenge. I completed simple gifts such as letting someone in the flow of traffic, holding the door open for the person behind me, giving the person in front of me in Target 3 pennies to pay her bill, calling a friend, etc. I only purchased a couple of items -- a cupcake for my husband's dessert and a card to send to a family who experienced the death of their elderly mother. Interestingly I really didn't have to look for opportunities to give, life just brought them. The 29th day ended Sunday, but I decided to continue. My biggest gain was that I became more aware of the way others are kind to me.

Anytime I am made aware of others, then I also increase my awareness of God.

If you are looking for a book to brighten the long winter days in January or February, I recommend Cami's book.

Jacquie Reed
Fishers, Indiana

November 17, 2010

Ministry Study Proposes No Guarenteed Appointment

Dear Friends, Please check out the Minisitry Study that will be proposal to General Conference in 2012. There are some suprises and some issues that effect us all.

Study of Ministry Commission Seeks Feedback. The Study of Ministry Commission has mapped out changes that include a shift away from security of employment for elders, a move to group candidacy mentoring, and separating ordination from full annual conference membership. “The 2008 General Conference asked us to streamline the ordination process and make changes that would move us to mission-oriented rather than a clergy-oriented church,” said Bishop Al Gwinn, chair of the commission. Comments can be e-mailed to

From the report:

Appointments should be determined by missional needs, effectiveness of clergy, and fruitfulness of congregations/ministry settings, honoring prophetic voice, accountability, character, servant leadership, and no security of appointment should be assumed.

The historic practice of itineracy is effective and responsive to covenantal obedience to call. Itineracy is not simply a practice of ‘moving clergy,’ but a way of fulfilling our Church’s mission.
Security of employment, commonly called guaranteed appointment, has become a barrier to fulfilling the church’s mission. It limits the ability of the church to respond to the primacy of missional needs. Security of employment can emphasize the needs of the clergy instead
of focusing on the mission of the church, and it restricts flexibility of appointments. Security of employment limits the church’s ability to respond to mediocrity and ineffectiveness. Security of employment is not sustainable, especially in the context of the financial pressures that
are building in our denomination.

Our vision is fruitful congregations that are transforming individuals and communities served by effective clergy undergirded by a system that is itinerant, open, flexible and responsive. To this end, we envision a shift to missional appointments, determined by missional needs
of the community, effectiveness of clergy, and fruitfulness of congregations/ministry settings, honoring prophetic voice and the common value of women and ethnic leadership in the church. Missional appointments emphasize fruitfulness in ministry over security of employment.
To accomplish this vision, we recommend the following:

1) Determine limited and standard fitness assessments. Each annual conference, board of ordained ministry, cabinet, and bishop will determine a clear definition of effectiveness and method for evaluating clergy.
2) Eliminate security of appointment for elders and edit appropriate Disciplinary paragraphs, including ¶¶334 and 337.
3) Create more flexibility for less-than-full-time elder appointments and edit relevant Disciplinary paragraphs, including ¶¶338 and 342. 4) Create a defined status/process for elders who are “not employed” and expand transitional leave as a new paragraph in the Discipline or draw language from ¶331.6.
5) Expand and create new oversight and review procedures for the appointment-making process to ensure that the historic protections of the prophetic pulpit, women and ethnic clergy
are preserved.
6) Coordinate with GBOPHB resources, methods and practices for separation of employment and employment transitions.

Moving as a Spiritual Discipline

I just finished packing up my office so I can relocate to a different floor. As I assembled and taped boxes, it occured to me that as a pastor's spouse, I have a lot of experience with moving. As inconvenient as it is to move, whether an office or a household, there is also an upside. In fact, it might even be considered a spiritual discipline.

When we move I throw out needless rubbish, sometimes have a yard sale, clean things up, reorganize, and dust things off that (sadly) have not been adequately dusted for years. Moving gives me the opportunity to reprioritize and reassess my needs and goals. And just like my new office will be clean, my soul will be refreshed and ready to begin again.

Don't get me wrong, I really don't like moving. But it does give me an opportunity to refresh and renew my sense of order by inviting me to set new priorities. Moving is a spiritual discipline because it gives God another chance to break into my world.

Grace, Kathy

November 16, 2010

I had a real treat yesterday. Mike was on vacation all week which meant on Sunday, I could choose where we worshiped. I selected a church in inner city Indianapolis. There was an interesting challenge to the morning, however, one that I never expected.

Neither Mike nor I are used to driving to church together on Sunday morning. He usually leaves at least an hour before I do. I am one of these people, who tries to do "just one more thing" before going out the door. I depend on red lights to finish my makeup, put on my watch, and finish other minor dressing tasks. We needed to leave by 8, so about 7:50, I heard, "Ten more minutes"."What's that?" I thought quickly realizing that Mike was reminding me that we had to leave soon.

A few more minutes passed, and I heard, "Five more minutes.""Oh my goodness, I am not used to being reminded of time on Sunday morning." Finally, I was ready, sort of -- dragging my makeup bag, watch, bottle of water, into Mike's car as we left.

While we were traveling, I commented, "Mike whenever you retire, our greatest challenge might not be too much togetherness, but integrating our different styles of Sunday morning preparation."

Driving to church together is something we haven't done for over twenty years. We had one car the first eleven years we were married, and two of those years, we had to go at the same time. Then for the next eleven years we lived next door to the church (not the same one) and walking about twenty feet was the best! Since 1989, we drove separately.

Mike shook his head with amusement as I explained my Sunday morning routine as he drove downtown recognizing that sometime in the years to come, our biggest retirement challenge might be driving to church together!

Jacquie Reed, Fishers, Indiana

November 4, 2010

Hospitality Spice

I go through periods where I really like to clean. Somehow, getting rid of old or unused items is a symbolic way to open more space for new thoughts and ideas. Last weekend when I was sorting articles and pamphlets, I found my old SPICE cookbook. Many years ago (over twenty) there was a clergy spouse publication called SPICE. I was one of the writers, and I was on the board of directors which included women (back in those days, most pastors were men) from various denominations.

The cookbook, published in 1989, was a year long project with recipes solicited from spouses all over the country. I thumbed through the yellowed pages, where I found suggestions for a parsonage open house, a Christmas Eve gathering at the parsonage after the last service, recipes to prepare for those attending church meetings (supplied by the pastor's wife), and potluck meals for over twenty (prepared by the pastor's wife).

Interestingly, I participated in most of these events. For many years, even with two small children, I had an open house for the church and/or churches that Mike pastored. I was told early in Mike's ministry that open houses were "really a good idea to help the people get to know the parsonage family in a relaxed setting" and most important, especially if the parsonage was in need of repair or updating, getting people in the house might increase the possibility of changes happening.

I did all of the baking and prepared the punch. I used the glass plates and cups from the church and asked a teenage girl to arrive about thirty minutes early to tend the children and pour the punch. Mike was always a good support, helping with last minute cleaning and vacuuming. I really enjoyed having people in the parsonage and fortunately all were very appreciative of the hospitality Mike and I extended.

Times have really changed since 1989, I haven't had an open house for many years nor have I prepared refreshments for a church meeting. These expectations are long gone. I did wonder, however, if there are any pastor's spouses who have such events in places where they live, or if you extend other gestures of hospitality toward church members?

(Sadly SPICE ceased publication in the '90's because of financial difficulties, even though the Alban Institute stepped in with grant support.)

Jacquie Reed, Fishers, Indiana