Reflection - February 1, 2017

By Darren McClellan

published 2/1/2017
Dear Friends,

I give thanks this morning for all who gathered to commemorate our connection at our recent District Conference in Atmore.  Special thanks to Dr. Debora Bishop and the gracious stewards of First UMC for their generous hospitality.  It was good to sing, celebrate, prayerfully discern and break bread together.  I also want to affirm your generosity in the offering toward the Costa Rica District Mission, your show of support for the exciting developments with San Pedro Mission, and your increased faithfulness in apportionment giving for 2016.  Collectively, I believe the district is on a good trajectory.  Thus, in our first chapter together, “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus…so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift…” (1 Cor. 1:5,7). 

I am also looking for any gleanings from the group discussions around stewardship (with Dr. Geoffrey Lentz) and finance and administration (with Mr. Bill Brown).  I do hope this was a useful offering for you.  Part of the purpose of their coming was to help assess other needs for future offerings while simultaneously building upon resourceful relationships within the district.  
Many of you also expressed an interest in the new “Next Steps Ministry” initiative for our small membership churches.  As stated, the launch date is Feb. 19, from 2-4pm.  This initial event is designed primarily for interested clergy of congregations whose worship attendance is around 50 or less.   Once I have a better idea of the interested participants we will determine a central location for the meeting.  For more on Next Steps Ministry and the leadership of Dr. Victor Dingus, go to

In other news, your year end reports were due to the conference office yesterday.  Early indications are that the percentage of timely respondents from the Baypines District is woeful.  Our Conference Treasurer led three different workshops in the bounds of the Baypines District last month in an effort to coach us in the fulfillment of this obligation. For those who have yet to submit, how long will it be before you are made clean (Jer. 13:27)?   Please save your District Superintendent the inexplicable grief of having to explain to my friend Frank Dunnewind why it is not completed.  For questions about said report, feel free to contact him directly at (334) 356-8014.

I’ll be in Montgomery tomorrow for a Conference Trustees meeting.  This Sunday I will be preaching at First UMC Evergreen.  Next week I will be attending the Clergy Benefits academy in Pensacola Beach, Feb 6-8.  I hope to see some of you there.

Grace to you,