In today’s message General Minister and President Rev. Terri Hord Owens shares about the Covenant Project, a project of the Governance Committee and the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that re-images the processes and structures in a way that utilizes technology and values relationship. She talks about what it might look like to imagine a church that is more connected to one another, so that we might live into the covenant God desires.
Learn more about the Covenant Project mentioned in Rev. Terri Hord Owen’s message by visiting this page. Register for an upcoming Covenant Project town hall be visiting this page. Have a group in your congregation, region, campus or ministry that would like to hear more? Contact us to set up a town hall for your specific gathering.
Hello Disciples, this weekend July 9 marks five years since my election as your General Minister and President. I have been inviting you to imagine with me who we must be as a new church for a new world—a new world that continues to evolve and that we must be increasingly nimble to be able to serve this world more effectively. As a church that identifies as a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world and names as one of its top priories becoming an anti-racist church, we must ensure that all voices, all communities, all identities and perspectives are heard and that the future we create together is one in which we’ve all participated in shaping.
The systems and processes that govern our decision making now, actually predate The Design, our governing document, which is now more than 50 years old. We can’t be bound by processes and structures that now limit how we connect and serve as whole church. We must dismantle systems that marginalized too many voices in order to fully be who we say we are. And we have the ability to communicate almost instantaneously, virtually, with technology. We can be together in ways our forbearers never imagined. And we face problems that call for our full engagement, discernment, deliberation and action now.
The Covenant Project is about work that the Governance Committee of the General Board has been working on offering some proposed changes to how we do General Assembly and how our General Board functions and interacts with the rest of the church and more importantly how you can engage consistently and substantively in the life of the church from your congregations. Imagine you’ve just been elected as a General Assembly delegate from your congregation, one of three. You’re not just going to attend the in person gathering, but in between the in person gatherings you’ll join the other delegates from your congregations in regular virtual discussions with other General Assembly delegates across the church, across your regions, to raise issues and concerns, offer ideas and provide feedback to the General Board and other leadership of the church. When the church needs to speak, it needs to decide, it can effectively and efficiently ask you, General Assembly delegates, to speak because you are essentially perpetually able to be called into session.
I am so excited about these proposed changes. I am excited to continue to work with our Moderator Team and the Governance Committee of the General Board to hold a series of online town halls to get your thoughts and input. We’ll share what we learn with the Administrative Committee of the General Board in October and then prepare to bring a revised proposal to the General Board next April. The General Board has been discussing these ideas since its 2020 meeting. So in preparation for General Assembly 2023 there will be another round of virtual town halls to educate you, allow you to ask questions about what these questions mean for your congregations and the ways in which we all reflect God’s limitless love together. Go to https://disciples.org/covenant-project/ to learn more and find out when the next online town halls will take place. There will be several through out the summer and early fall, so don’t miss this opportunity to learn more and allow your voice to be heard. I will be there, along with members of our Moderator Team and members of the Governance Committee. I’ll see you soon.
Just imagine who we can be and what we can do if we dare, if we have the courage to image that we can indeed change. God bless you. Remember that God loves you and so do I. I will see you soon.