faith in action

Drew University hosts Conference Church and Society Leaders Gathering

“Ministry with the Poor” was a particular focus of a gathering of Conference Church and Society Leaders held Oct. 1-4, 2018 at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

Representatives from 17 annual conferences attended the event held in conjunction with Drew’s annual Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures. This year’s lecture series featured Brian McLaren, Bishop Karen Oliveto and jazz concert hosted by Mark Miller.

David Valera, director of connectional ministries for Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, prepared a video report featuring the reflections of a number of participants.

The Rev. Dr. Tanya Linn Bennett and the Board of Church and Society of Greater New Jersey Annual Conference served as the host conference.

Bennett also served as host for Drew University where she is the associate professor in the Practice of Public Theology and Vocation.

The Church and Society Leader Gathering included reports on successes and challenges of conference Church and Society efforts.

Assistant General Secretary Neal Christie distributed a draft of the proposed revision of Social Principles and reported that conversations on the proposed draft had happened in dozens of annual conferences, both inside and outside of the U.S.

Organizing as a tool for social change was another theme of the gathering. Church and Society’s organizing department presented an overview of Church and Society’s Organizing efforts throughout the world and how local conferences are getting involved.

A report highlighting specific examples of successful Ministry with the Poor efforts from each of the 17 conferences represented was distributed to the group and local ministry efforts were discussed.

Church and Society is the lead agency for Ministry with the Poor, one of the four foci of the church. Church and Society’s Amber Feezor continues to solicit and compile reports of successful examples of conferences building relationships with the poor and working for the elimination of poverty.

Clayton Childers, director of conference relations, presented Four Quadrants of Care, an outreach ministry analysis tool which considers four outreach ministry quadrants — Charity, Mutuality, Advocacy, Solidarity. The model can be used by congregations and conferences to analyze the depth and breadth of existing ministries and to direct and promote outreach ministries which address the root causes of poverty and build deep human to human, people to people connections.