By Tiffany Vail
Associate Conference Minister for Communications
Just after the Annual Meetings of the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut Conferences voted decisively on June 17 to move forward toward uniting into one Conference, Connecticut Conference Board Member Jocelyn Gardner-Spencer looked at Connecticut Conference Minister Kent Siladi and said “we have a lot of work to do.”
That work began in earnest on Thursday, when 14 members of the three Boards of Directors and the Conference Ministers met in the approximate center of the three Conferences – Woodstock, CT – to begin mapping out what comes next.
The Together, As Oneteam (participants listed below) is tasked with developing a definitive proposal for a unified Conference that will be brought before Annual Meeting voters in June of 2018, and then will need further approval by General Synod voters in 2019.
Participants at Thursday’s four-hour meeting expressed both excitement at being involved in what could be an historic moment in the denomination, and reservations at how difficult the work lying ahead may be.
The team agreed that the first priority will be to articulate the vision, mission and purpose of this new conference, and that all other work will flow from there. A subgroup was formed to begin work on this task, and other subgroups were formed to work on governance of the new conference (board structure and bylaws), financial issues, and questions around staffing.
The group discussed the possibility of bringing on a consultant to guide their work – in particular, to help with engaging people in the Conference during the process of developing the proposal.
The group has monthly meetings planned for the rest of the year, with a goal of having a proposal to bring to the three Board of Directors in early 2018.
The team has also established an email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – which anyone is welcome to use to reach the group with comments or questions. Public comments are also welcome at the end of this article.
The Together, As One task team members:
Kent Siladi, Conference Minister
Bridget Fidler, Board Chair
Marilyn Kendrix, Board Vice-Chair
Jocelyn Gardner-Spencer, Board Representative
Jeff Gallagher, Board Representative
Jim Antal, Conference Minister
Corey Sanderson, Board Chair
Lynne Dolan, Board Vice Chair
Philomena Hare, Board Representative
Michael McSherry, Board Representative
Linda Mesler, Vice Moderator
Barbara Libby, Interim Conference Minister
Frances Munro, Board Chair
Cleo Graham, Board Vice Chair
Dale Azevedo, Board Representative
Linda Sable, Committee on Ministry
Adjunct: Tiffany Vail, Associate Conference Minister for Communications for the three Conferences