Beloved in Christ Jesus:
Sometimes when I describe my role as a bishop I boil it down to two things: Convening and Blessing. To be sure there are a lot of tasks that go with the job but these broad descriptors serve me well in thinking about the role. When I think about convening I have in mind bringing together the right people at the right time to have the right conversation to help us fulfill our mission. During my first year among you and with the partnership of several conference staff members I convened three important work groups. I want to talk about one of them here called FACT. If you click this link (or the FACTsheet graphic on the right) you will find a description of a FACT engagement.
As a result of going through the FACT engagement our conference has in effect had the opportunity to go through a modest self study. While the “port of entry” focuses on financial health and sustainability so much more territory is covered. As you can see ten key challenges have been identified and work is underway to prioritize and proactively address them. Let me describe some next steps that are underway:
Conversations about these challenges are being pushed further out into the conference. Some of this is happening through existing leadership teams of the conference. As well, identified leaders from across the conference are being invited into conversations about FACT. The hope is to get more input and confirm (or not) that the challenges named in the FACT process are the ones we are going to focus on as a conference.
I have named Rev. Dennis Mohler as the Project Manager for our continuing work on FACT. As we embrace the challenges, identify the remedies and “get the right people on the bus” Dennis is charged with keeping the process on track.
The process thus far has provided extraordinary data both measurable and anecdotal. We have learned much about ourselves that can serve us well going forward. Many of the great strengths of the West Ohio Conference have been identified and affirmed. The naming of dilemmas is wonderfully hopeful and they give us a place to dig in. As we claim our strengths and own our dilemmas we are well positioned to enter into a strategic planning process as an Annual Conference.
I invite you to click on the full report here or on the report graphic on the left and read it or download it. (You may also open or download the PDF attached below.) Pray about both our strengths and challenges and be on the watch for ways in which you might make helpful input to the process of charting the course for a missional future. I am grateful for your continuing partnership in the mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” in and through the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. I remain,
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
†Gregory V. Palmer, Resident Bishop
The 10 primary dilemmas identified and further explained in the report are:
- Reaching New People/Growth
- Building Trust
- Conference Vision/Strategic Plan
- Survival Focus
- Health Care and Benefits
- Creating a Culture of Healthy Clergy Leadership
- Clergy Supply
- General Financials/Staffing at the Districts and Conference
- West Ohio Conference Task Forces
In the coming months, reports and updates on the recommendations around each of these dilemmas, who will lead the tasks associated and a timeline will be posted on this webpage.