I just got home from an all day meeting of our regional judicatory. Whew. First a fairly long meeting that managed to have a bit of excitement due to a motion from the floor. Sadly, a motion essentially to ‘table’ the first motion ended the interesting financial discussion.

The worship was great as usual. The worship space (Lutheran, but hey, nice digs) was beautiful. Representatives from ecumenical partners present and national staff because our Conference Minister is retiring at the end of the year.  It was a little sad for me.  Our Conference Minister is a great guy who is (in part) the victim of the precarious condition of middle judicatories.  I suspect whoever follows him is going to have to make some really difficult choices.

Then, I got to thinking about Carol Howard Merritt’s newest book “Reframing Hope.”  Carol talks alot about the local church and how it might change (for the better) as we include the gifts and predilections of the ‘millenials.’   I didn’t read it this way (although she talks about judicatories in terms of Denominations), but much of what she describes there could very well serve our judicatories.

One thing is for sure, if we have an institutional problem now we will surely have one in the future.  Carol notes that the Millenials are not interested in keeping an institution afloat, even while they are committed to the faith and mission of the institution itself.  All this, to me, sounds sort of ‘back to the future.’  I am sure that the church was at one time defined by its life together more than its structure.  Middle judicatories sometimes struggle with buildings and ‘structures’ for which resources are thin.

Anyway, it’ll be exciting to see just how bad we want to hang onto old ways in that segment of the church’s life.

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