This is my third year on the Missional Leadership Team (MLT). Most of this time has been impacted by the pandemic. Virtual meetings have taken the place of in-person meetings. This year (July 1) has begun with renewed energy to meet the conference’s vision and mission through a willingness to make changes. We know from experience in the physical world that an object at rest stays at rest until a force acts upon it. The Holy Spirit is at work to make changes in and through the MLT and Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference (IMMC). Change for change’s sake brings chaos and confusion. However, with MLT’s focus on IMMC’s vision and mission, our desire is that change will bring hope and purpose to individuals and faith communities.
The annual All-Teams Leadership Retreat was held in a virtual format on Saturday, Sept 28 amid the rise of COVID variants in our geographical region. (I tested positive for COVID on the following Monday, in spite of being fully vaccinated. I was thankful I did not transmit COVID to others at this meeting.) I miss the in-person meetings but for the well-being of others the virtual meetings are a great solution.
The All-Teams Retreat was an energizing start to the new church year. The Co-Conference Ministers, Joanne Guillardo and Sharon Yoder and the new Administrative Coordinator Clayton Gladish effectively led and facilitated the retreat. The retreat focused on addressing issues related to intercultural competency and white supremacy in our structure, leadership roles and decisionmaking.
My desire, both personally and for our conference, is to address issues and facilitate change that will expand our vision and welcome and affirm all those who desire to participate in God’s beloved community. As I confront my own privileges and bias as a white male in our society, I know the work is never done. As we welcome new members to MLT and other teams, I pray that we can live into accepting the work that the Holy Spirit has started in us.
Duane Yoder, MLT Treasurer