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2014 Annual Gathering Report from the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations

LibbyTignerA few months ago, our Board of Directors articulated the core mission values of our Conference – you will recognize them as the theme of our 2014 Annual Gathering: “Building the Future, Equipping Leaders, Loving Community, Seeking Justice.”  This clear identification of mission and priorities has helped to focus my work.

Building the Future.  Three key elements of looking toward future growth and health in the conference and our local churches are financial development, solid administrative practices, finding the right pastoral leadership.  A Vitality Event on Healthy Finances, Administration, and Risk Management was held in April and attended by 75 local church leaders.  I continue to take classes through the Fundraising School at the University of Indiana Center for Philanthropy and am happy to work with local churches as they approach their stewardship seasons.  Last year, the Annual Gathering approved a conference budget that was built upon a 10% increase from local churches in Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) giving; we have followed up on that will specific asks to congregational leadership.  I have worked with thirteen of our local churches in some phase of Search and Call this year; Felix is working with several others.  As the cost to the Conference for an average Search and Call process is approximately $12,000, we are using the Search and Call consultations as a time to increase awareness of the importance of OCWM donations.

Equipping Leaders.  Four new Boundary Awareness Training modules were introduced this year: Social Media, Cultural Competence, Clergy Self Care, and Professional Ethics.  Another new module is ready for August: Boundary Awareness during Transitions.  Nineteen different workshops are being offered at this year’s Annual Gathering, all of which are designed to put new skills into the hands of church leaders.  I serve as staff to the Church and Ministry Committees of the Central and Northern Conferences, and advise their MIDs as they prepare profiles and begin their own search process for a call to authorized ministry.  I’m working with the Western Region’s team in exploring the possibility of a regionalized fitness review team, and am in the process of developing tools that engage the “Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers in the UCC” for use by MIDs, Association committees and local churches in search.  The clergy convocation to be held this fall will introduce Communities of Practice for authorized ministers.

Loving Community.  A first-ever wintertime Clergy Getaway was started in February – a simple and unstructured time of R&R for local church pastors between the busy seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent.  Look for that again next year.  We rolled out the Conference Ambassador program in April, and thirty local churches welcomed a volunteer ambassador who brought greetings from the Conference, which served to strengthen both awareness and our covenantal ties to one another.  We introduced a new communications tool, “Conference Check In” an email that goes out from Felix, Keith or me on a monthly basis and which highlights upcoming events as well as clergy birthdays and transitions.

Seeking Justice.  My primary engagement in this area of focus has to do with compensation practices in local churches, and advocating for fair and just compensation for pastoral leadership.

No review of the past year would be complete without mentioning General Synod 29, and the amazing job that our Local Arrangements Committee did as hosts.  The welcome that this Conference extended to the United Church of Christ was simply amazing!  And the generosity of so many of our local churches and individuals meant that we made our fundraising goal and were able to make small gifts to both Pilgrim Pines and the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries.  Well done, SCNC!

Thank you for the privilege of ministering with you in the United Church of Christ in Southern California and Nevada.

Libby Tigner


Other Annual Gathering Reports:

Report from the Conference Board Chair

Report from the Executive Associate Conference Minister

Report from the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations

Report from the Conference Youth Minister

Report from the Acting Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

Report form the Urban Mission New Church Start Planter


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