The Charge Conference of the City Road Chapel United Methodist Church was held on Tuesday, October 18 at 6 p.m. The Charge Conference is the annual meeting of church leaders with our denominational representative (currently, the Rev. Harriet Bryan, Superintendent of the Nashville District) to review our ministry in the past year and prepare for the coming year through the election of church leaders and looking at staffing. Part of the meeting includes reports from our pastors, and the following is my report for 2016:
This has been one of the more challenging years in my ministry at City Road Chapel UMC. I am now in my fifth year under appointment in this position, and I have seen some trends emerging both in our congregation and in the surrounding community. At this time last year, Jay and I, along with a Strategic Vision Team, had established the goal of moving from an attractional model of church to a missional model. We knew there would be growing pains in this process, and that has proven to be true. I remain committed to the idea that God isn’t finished with this church or this community, or the place where they intersect here. It’s up to us to be about that business.
Our Missions Ministry Area has been stable in the past year. We continue with our bus pass ministry, our very active food bag ministry, the Quiet Place Respite Shelter, and we began a fruitful new ministry in hosting couples during our very cold and snowy nights last winter. I was so proud of our congregation when we were able to pull together resources on the fly to offer these folks the love and compassion they needed. We hope to continue that project this winter.
The OpenTable Urban Village was a learning process, as we decided (as a congregation) not to continue with that project.
We conducted a very successful capital campaign, which also made me so proud of this congregation. Not just because we were able to raise the necessary resources to continue to provide this valuable site for ministry, but because of the way we pulled together in teamwork and prayer for a common cause. The consultant provided a really excellent model of ways that we can communicate and work on future projects, as well.
I continue to pursue my Doctor of Ministry degree with the Nashville Episcopal Area Cohort through Wesley Theological Seminary. We are in the final phases of project design, research, and writing. We plan to graduate in May 2018. I continue to be so grateful for the opportunity that the conference and this church have given me to follow this enriching path.
I continue to help plan and lead worship, preaching every four-six weeks. Our Children’s Ministry grows in unorthodox ways still, as our Shade Tree ministry has moved to a new site and started new relationships with impoverished families. I produced our own Vacation Bible School curriculum this summer again, for about 100 children. It was great fun, and Jay contributed an original song as well! We realigned our Children’s Ministry Council and our Childcare Governing Board into one group, called Children’s Council. So far, this seems effective in streamlining our work and creating a shared sense of identity between these different outlets for ministry with children and families.
My children are now 5 and 3. They are bright and curious and challenging. This congregation has been so supportive of my role as parent, and I really appreciate that. My children (and their exuberance) are welcomed in worship and in the office when they need to be with me. City Road Chapel is a special place, and as we continue to discern God’s way forward for us, I hold this body of Christ in prayer.