By Rick Wolcott*
Bishop Tracy S. Malone began unveiling a ministry vision for the East Ohio Conference during her Annual Conference 2017 Episcopal Address.
“As your Episcopal Leader, I hold out a vision and a hope that you will be bold, faithful and courageous in your Christian witness and behold the power, the Holy Spirit’s power, that has been poured out upon you!” she said during her address.
The East Ohio Conference ministry vision is the result of the countless hours the bishop spent touring each district with its superintendent, meeting pastors, congregations, and faith communities.
“I saw places where ministry was strong, vibrant and viable, and places where there is new emerging ministries,” Malone said. “I also saw places and communities where there are great needs and opportunities for us to expand our witness and reach.”
The ministry vision comes after visiting and preaching in many EOC churches; following listening sessions with ministry candidates; having one-on-one conversations with laity and clergy; meeting with community leaders and partners; and seeing first-hand the needs and opportunities within the Ohio East Area.
“After much prayer and discernment, this is what God gave me as a vision,” Malone said.
The ministry vision has been shared with Conference directors, Conference Council on Ministries (CCOM) elected leadership, the Cabinet, the Extended Cabinet, and is now being shared with all East Ohio Conference laity, clergy and churches.
“While there is anxiety about the future of the Church and what might happen as a result of the Special Session of General Conference called for February 2019, the mission of the Church still stands,” Malone said. “It is our shared mission and our vision that holds us together and keeps us focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.