Saturday, February 26, 2022

RIM Conference End of an Era

For the last twelve years I have served on the Leadership Team for the Florida Conference Residents in Ministry process. In that time I have worked with almost 200 clergy during their provisional period of ministry, to help support them and encourage them in their professional development and moving through the ordination process. In 2017, I took over as the chair of the process and was part of a task force to revitalize the RIM process and our Board of Ordained Ministry process. This past week was my last RIM Conference as the chairperson, in preparation for transitioning to my new role as District Superintendent. I was so thankful to be in person with the RIMees one more time - we have had three online conferences during Covid. Our conference was focused around Theology and was held in Lakeland at the First United Methodist Church on the edge of Lake Morton. 

Day One - Jeremy Hearn and Rev. Pam Dubov (new chair of RIM) led our worship time together. And then we spent time learning from Dr. Paul Chilcote about Wesleyan theology and spirituality. 

For dinner that night Rev. Sara McKinley came over from the conference office and 
took us all to Abuelo's for dinner. 

Day Two - We were led in worship and theology discussions on sacraments and justice with Rev. Esther Rodriguez and Rev. Roy Terry. 

Third day - Our final morning started off with a sweet time of recognition and prayer for me
and for my new role. Then we were led in discussions about what it means for the pastor to be the resident theologian by the Rev. Madeline Luzinski, the Rev. Magrey deVega and Dr. Brett Opalinski (via zoom). Another one of our team members, Rev. Mark Charles, led our closing worship and he sang too! 

Working with RIM over the last twelve years has been a tremendous blessing. I have never left a RIM conference without feeling a renewed sense of hope for the future of emerging clergy, for the United Methodist Church and for the kingdom of God. I will miss this work, but I know it is in good hands with the new team. Time to journey on to other things. 

This is the prayer I left the RIMees with as our final benediction. It was written by a Catholic priest to honor martyr Oscar Romero. 

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts; it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.  

No prayer fully expresses our faith.  

No confession brings perfection.  

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.  

No program accomplishes the church’s mission.  

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  

We water the seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  

We lay foundations that will need further development.  

We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  

This enables us to do something and to do it well.  

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.  

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

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