On Sunday, April 26, following the worship service at BCMC, moderator Jim Robb announced that pastor Heidi Regier Kreider has accepted a call to serve as Conference Minister for the Western District Conference (an area conference of Mennonite Church USA) beginning August 17, 2015. She will conclude her role as pastor at BCMC on July 31, at the end of her current term. Below are comments Heidi shared at the congregational meeting later on Sunday:
I want to share with you some background about the process leading to my decision to accept the position of Conference Minister for Western District Conference.
Earlier this spring, my 3-year pastoral evaluation took place in an appreciative inquiry process that focused on future priorities for BCMC and pastoral leadership in the congregation. On April 19, a report from the process was shared with the congregation during Sunday school.
Personally, I felt that the evaluation process was a positive experience, including both affirmation for my leadership and constructive criticism to strengthen my ministry. I was reminded why I love BCMC, with all its diversity of people and ideas; and the process reinforced my gratitude for the opportunity I have had to serve this congregation, work with a wonderful staff, and grow as a pastor among a gifted community of faith!
The appreciative inquiry process was also a period of time in which I listened carefully for God’s voice, and my own internal sense of direction for the future. When the position of Conference Minister for Western District Conference was announced, I sensed that my life experience and ministry gifts could be the right match for this calling. After fifteen good years at BCMC, I also sensed a nudge toward fresh challenges and settings for ministry that will press me toward greater personal and vocational growth.
So, when the Executive Board of Western District Conference approved hiring me as Conference Minister, I received that decision as God’s call for me to serve the church in a new way. I now look forward to shifting my attention to another level of the church: Supporting congregations and pastors of Western District Conference, encouraging initiatives in Anabaptist faith formation and church planting, nurturing cross-cultural relationships, and – yes – even joining in the creative, Spirit-filled process of conflict, listening, and living together in our diversity over sexuality and church polity.
Over the next several weeks, the current WDC conference minister will initially work with BCMC to guide next steps in pastoral transition. After I begin as conference minister relating to other congregations and pastors, the WDC will appoint someone besides me to relate as conference minister to BCMC in its ongoing transition, recognizing my former relationship with BCMC.
This shift in ministry for me means that I will not seek another term as pastor at BCMC. Even so, I sincerely hope that the congregation will not consider the recent pastoral evaluation and appreciative inquiry as unnecessary, but rather make use of the questions and observations that came out of the process to help shape BCMC’s vision and leadership in the future.
And, though change is always difficult, I believe there is a solid foundation for pastoral transition at BCMC at this time in the congregation’s life. BCMC has a strong and skilled staff in place, dedicated leadership on the Church Board, commissions and committees, and incredibly rich resources for nurturing vitality, witness and growth.
As we move forward to plan for transition, we will feel a mixture of many emotions which may include anticipation and uncertainty, sadness and hope. I am already experiencing all of those, realizing that it is difficult to leave the congregation I love! At the same time, I believe it is good to make a transition at a time when the pastor-congregation relationship is healthy and positive. I pray for God’s guidance for BCMC in the future, and give thanks for the many ways in which each member of this community will contribute to that future!
Thank you to BCMC for being the church, the body of Christ.
– Heidi Regier Kreider
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