The date of the Heart of Texas Association Fall Meeting has been moved to Saturday, October 24 at 10 am to noon (a shift from the original date of October 10) on Zoom. The reason for the change in date is to allow us to prepare for a presentation on the proposed formation of a Conference level Fitness Review Committee. The formation of this committee has been a project of the South Central Conference Board of Directors, and would be a joining of Associations (rather than a taking over by the Conference) in the work of ministerial fitness reviews. I will explain a little more about what this means below.
Our Association Executive Board will be putting the agenda together before the Fall Meeting, but we expect that we will have an emphasis on sharing from the churches about how we are doing our ministry during this time of enormous change, an opportunity to give toward needs generated by the pandemic, an update on what the work and needs of Slumber Falls are, and our normal financial/budget approvals and other brief reports. The leadership of the Heart of Texas Association believes that it is perhaps more important than ever to share from our lives as churches in this time of change.
One of the most difficult, detailed, and time consuming tasks of our Committee on Ministry is a fitness review. This work happens when a complaint regarding the fitness for ministry of one of our ministers is raised in a substantial way. There is currently a thorough and demanding process for raising, investigating, and considering these types of complaints that the Association Committee on Ministry uses, as outlined in the United Church of Christ Manual on Ministry and supporting documents. Since fitness reviews do not occur often, Committee members must be trained to understand and to work with this process when one does happen. Additionally, the Committee often needs to do quite a bit of follow up work after a fitness review occurs. Normally, our Committee on Ministry has a full load of work for its meetings working with our Members in Discernment and ministers before the major addition of fitness review work. An ongoing committee, composed of members elected from all of the Associations in the Conference, could do the demanding work of fitness reviews with members who are trained and experienced in this work. That proposed ongoing committee, as well as a process to be able to join it, will be what will be presented at our Fall Meeting. We would not vote on joining this committee until the Spring of 2021. However, it is important for us to hear what is being proposed, to understand what we would be voting on, and to share feedback about it at this time.
We will be sending out the Fall Meeting Zoom link, the agenda and instructions to all of our churches, to our ministers, and to as many people on our email list as we can once we are closer to the meeting date. It is my hope and prayer that this meeting will be uplifting, informative, and a time of bonding and mutual support in our faith as we continue to do the work Christ calls all of us to do. I hope many of you will join us.
Blessings in Christ, Liz Nash, Association Minister