Assembly 2020 Overview
Due to coronavirus, congregational delegates and conference leaders connected via Zoom on July 25. They heard reports from the year, celebrating 13 pastors credentialed for ministry, multiple long term conference volunteers, and two new church planting initiatives. Delegates approved a projected $49,000 deficit budget that will require drawing down reserves in order to support a new organizational structure, which was also approved by the delegate body, which will require more funds for staffing. Friday and Sunday congregations were treated to two video worship services with presentations by Keas Keasler who had intended to be present in person, but instead recorded his messages on video.
Tim Sweigart, conference moderator for the past four years, facilitated the delegate session, emphasizing a theme that has been his focus during his tenure: God is ready to do a new thing with South Central Conference as it continues to serve as a network of 33 churches spread out from northern Missouri to south Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.
The two church planting initiatives include a Swahili language congregation in Wichita, KS, being led by Masemo Wakibogo, which primarily serves immigrants from Africa who have settled here, and an outreach ministry by the other most recent church plant, Eden Life church in Kansas City, led by Omot and Hannah Aganya.
A major agenda for discussion and action was a proposal to change the structure and staffing of the conference. After three years of discernment and visioning of how we can best serve our pastors and congregations, the principal change will be the employment of a part-time Network Director who will become the leader of the conference and the facilitator of resourcing for pastors. The moderator position, newly named Network Chair, will be filled by past moderator Gary Wolfer for the next year, and a chair-elect will be named to take over that task in August 2021. A Network Leadership team will replace the group formerly known as the Executive Committee.
A second major item for discussion and delegate action was the presentation of Discovery 20.21, a process through which the leadership team, pastors and congregational leaders will review and discern continued affiliation relationships or an alternative networking arrangement. A motion that SCC take action at this meeting to withdraw from MC USA was tabled, pending the outcome of the Discovery process. The team providing leadership for this process includes Howard Wagler, Clarence Rempel, Rod Schmucker, and Jeff Selzer.
The featured speaker for the weekend was Keas Keasler who addressed the assembly theme, Why Church? Keas is assistant professor of spiritual formation and the program director of the Master’s in Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University in Wichita. His two messages are still available to view. Information can be found at sccmenno.org/annual-assembly. On Friday evening, Keas noted that Jesus did not leave a book, but a community. He affirmed that the church exists to produce people who resemble Jesus. His Sunday sermon was based on the proposition that Jesus came into the world primarily to introduce the Kingdom of God, with the provision of a path to personal salvation as a byproduct. As Jesus’ disciples, we have a part to play in putting the world right. Kingdom work is both now and not yet, believing that our everyday, ordinary activity is our response to Jesus’ call on our lives.Posted on August 20, 2020 in News