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As the leaves are done falling and the temperatures turn colder, we are making a transition in the conference office. Greg Sommers returned from his sabbatical in time to attend Pastoral Leadership Team Weekend at Amigo Centre November 7-9. Staff gladly welcomed him back at an all-staff retreat on November 10, also at Amigo Centre. And he was greeted with a bright and shiny office. Feel free to welcome him back in his role as conference administrator. And so we prepare to say goodbye to Marcella Hershberger, who served as interim conference administrator during Greg’s sabbatical. Marcella and Greg will overlap a bit to facilitate a smooth handover.

Dan meets with the Journey board on November 14. Philip Leichty, one of the pastors at Burr Oak Mennonite, is completing his final term on the board in 2015. Philip has provided sound leadership as Journey has grown over the last nine years. The sponsoring organizations, including Indiana-Michigan Conference, Central District Conference, and the Church Leadership Center of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, will look for a new person to provide leadership.

Missional Leadership Team (MLT) meets this Saturday, November 15. Rebecca Kauffman has been appointed to complete the time left on Anita Yoder’s term. A significant portion of the meeting will deal with staff configuration in light of the structure review and significant planned cuts. The MLT will touch base with Mark Schloneger, chair of the Unity and Variance Discernment Task Group. In addition, the Ministry Credentialing Team (MCT) has asked to stay in touch with MLT during this time of a significant credential review. Pray for MLT as they gather.

There are no credentialing or installation services this month. Dan will be present at Prairie Street on November 16 to join with a Journey participant and mentor in signing a learning covenant. Journey encourages congregations to support mentor pairs throughout the three years, and encourages mentor pairs to sign their learning covenant in front of the congregation at least once during the three years.

The Regional Pastor Search Team continues looking to fill the open position in the western region. The team has pursued several leads, and continues to do so. The search team welcomes suggestions.

Dan Miller and Brian Bither joined in a phone call with other conferences who are relating with Chin congregations. A congregation in Indianapolis, the Mara Christian Church, is seeking affiliation with IN-MI Conference, and we are pleased to be developing a relationship with them. Brian, who is a pastor at Shalom Mennonite in Indianapolis, is a primary contact person. This was a beneficial conversation for all the next call will take place in January..

Staff have identified five goal areas for this year and are setting achievement steps. This year we are working at it together with both central office and regional staff. Areas include staff configuration, congregational connections, resources for congregations, mutual accountability for congregations, and revamping communication strategy.

The first week in December Dan and Doug will gather with conference ministers from across the United States and Canada for their annual meeting.

Staff worship takes place on Tuesday morning. If you wish for us to pray for you or your congregation, please let a staff-person know.

– Dan Miller