By Dan Miller
Interim Conference Minister

Heading into Annual Conference Assembly, I was both excited and nervous. Excited, because I find such gatherings to be fun. At the end of the day, I can be so energized that it’s hard to go to sleep! Nervous, because I am still learning about Ohio Conference. This might be hard to believe, but after three months sometimes it still feels new and strange!

I noticed pretty quickly that delegates came ready to engage. That first worshipful work session progressed so quickly we got done early. Things didn’t always go so fast, but Moderator Ken Sims and Assistant Moderator Paula Snyder Belousek kept sessions efficient. I give a lot of credit for that to the strategic planning process. I think delegates were ready to accomplish their business!

All who gathered to hear Meghan Good were also ready to listen and engage. Meghan presented three teaching sessions on a Jesus-centered Christianity, and preached in two worship services. Her historical analysis of this time when so much seems to not be working was incisive. Her focus on Jesus was refreshing and challenging. Her advocacy for listening to God was a balm to my soul. Meghan is a good speaker and storyteller; looking around the room as she spoke, it was hard to find a distracted or bored face. I hope delegates have already shared with you their highlights from March 1-2. Listen to them, look over this issue of the Ohio Mennonite Evangel, and consider how things we heard could nourish your congregation.

My thoughts now turn to how we cultivate these Jesus-centered characteristics as we implement the strategic plan adopted by delegates. As your congregations pursue your visions and callings, I hope changes in Conference staffing and structure feel like a timely adjustment. I believe the hope of the delegates as they imagined the future was for a conference that lives into its vision of a “thriving conference of congregations united around Jesus as the Center of who we are and all we do.” To that end, Ohio Mennonite Conference’s mission is to “gather, equip and send our congregations by the power of the Holy Spirit to live out God’s Greatest Commandments and Jesus’ Great Commission.”

Amen. May it be so!