The conference symbol is drawn from a vision shared by Ezekiel and the Apostle John of the river of life and the trees drawing water from it supplying leaves for the healing of the nations. The river of life gives rise to resources from the trees which is varied in its width and breadth and is unfailing and abundant in its capacity to generate healing that sustain the nations. This surely is a picture of an ultimate unfailing and rich resource flowing from the Person of Christ that translates through God’s agencies into the transformation of societies, communities and nations.
RESOURCES CRISIS CALLS FOR INNOVATION AND CHANGE
Our future in our nation and in our Church’s life depends on the outcomes of new assessments and policy around resources. The call is for adaptation, transformation, new models and methods and reformulations of the church and mission that intersect with the developmental crisis in South Africa. Our church has grown and witnessed in the progression of South Africa from independence from colonial rule and then to the struggle for justice, reconciliation and political liberation to the current phase we are now in of sharing and developing resources as part of a new economic revolution. We kept a blend of historical continuance in a fusion of accommodation with a search for a spirituality of scriptural holiness and the indispensable proclamation of the Gospel which is the eternal spring of new life.
The Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary, with the support of our connexional leadership, is convening a gathering of our church around the crucial matter of resources and their development in relation to Church and Mission. This might give rise to new priorities, methodologies, structures and initiatives that could bring change and renewal that will foster growth, revitalisation and the development of resources. It is equally important that continuity be given to former paradigms and that effective and precedent in practice should still be honoured and affirmed in a creative dialogue regarding new wine skins.
This is a crucial moment. The new South Africa is ever new in the changing environment. In every human sphere in our society there is stress and a search for a better and more economically just and inclusive way. There is an urgent social need is to establish effective means that transforms the lives of our people.
In the ecclesial community we need a review of the life of our church and what our collective function and practice should be in our ministry to our communities, planting of new churches, keeping our congregations alive and dynamic , resourcing our work and the erection of suitable buildings.
The local church is a potentially a unique, gifted and responsible agent for community development and outreach. Finding, mobilising, stewarding and generating resources is a practical necessity and can be a most fulfilling ministry rather than a drain of energy. How should we think and reflect of this matter? How should we raise, generate, manage, allocate and be accountable for financial means that we need for Church and Mission? And beyond material resources we are called surely for resources to equip our churches for edification, worship, training and mobilisation in a Christ-like witness.
There are possibilities for change, improvement and renewal in the outcomes of the conference and of a new important pragmatism about how to reformulate and transform the challenges before us what was toward what will be. The conference seeks to be a signpost of where we should go in this matter or better still a vehicle to begin to get us there. Institutions need movement to energise and inflame them. Movements end up in airy transcendence if their fervour and originality is not incorporated into structures and methodology. The times dictate this sort of reflection but our reflection might also end up dictating the times.
The overarching purpose of the Conference is the raising and the development of resources for Church and Mission. In order to encourage existing and new ministry the following profiles for participants is suggested.
Ministers and Laity: The ideal participants would be a minister and layman pair from a congregation. The layman should as far as possible be someone who is innovative and willing to stand for new idea and potentials.
LayAssociations: There is the hope for involvement from the fine Methodist lay associations at circuit level for men and women.
The Care and Schooling of Youth: Persons engaged in Schooling or the care of children in crèches or Children’s’ homes or other initiatives related to young people.
Missionary Project Participants: Wherever organisations for mission to communities exist we would value their representation. This might be in clinics, crèches, health and evangelism outreach teams, upliftment and community development programmes, schools, feeding schemes, mini-factories, skills training, building associations, clothes making, Aids outreach, Glebes and agricultural projects etc.
Sharing Skills and know how in, production and capacity building, in technical areas. In the interests of job creation persons with technical and managerial know how for small business start-up would be valuable. There is wide range of human endeavour which could economically empower our people and our churches. These could include Artists, dramatists, Musicians, architects, plumbers, carpenters, builders, engineers. Publishers and service providers to name a few
Financial: Persons with investment know- how and financial management and control and who grow or access financial resources and create wealth capacity in revolving loan plans, micro-finance fund-raising strategies and self-help plans.
Selection: It is important that Bishops and Superintendents are kept informed of who is making application for registration. Depending on the volume of responses a selection procedures might have to be implemented both by the conference organisers and those finances enrolment in congregations, circuits, districts or at connexional level.
THE THREE STREAMS FOR PARTICIPANTS
The conference will be looking at a Theology of resources, an examination of how these are generated raised, developed and managed as well as the practice of applying them in examples and models in Church and Mission. Current practice will be reviewed, affirmed and prospects for renewal considered.
Persons attending the Conference will choose one of three streams for engagement with others at the conference. This streaming will help also for the vital work of continuity and effect in application, development and continuity after the event. These are:
Persons whose primary interest is in raising, managing or investing in resources should consider attendance. This may include effective stewardship models and examples, micro-financing and revolving loan plans and other forms of informal and formal banking. Those engaged in economic empowerment ventures or examples of examples of small business run by individuals or groups in a congregation or a circuit. Raising support through government or business or the wider international Christian Community would be part of this stream.
Persons interested in resources application in Planting or starting congregations, providing adequate stipends and remuneration in ecclesial structures and designing, building and maintaining multipurpose building that can support skills development and economic empowerment. Included in this would be and examination of self-supporting ministry, non-stipendiary options for persons in a profession and economic activity allowed for ministers to supplement their income. Also included would be, SMMS, The Connexional Office and departments.
Persons who advance and apply the gospel in evangelistic programmes or events or teams or music groups. Also the many outreach and social upliftment programmes that might include children in schools or medical care in clinics or HIV and Aids programmes, feedings schemes, crèches, skills training, recreational activities etc. Included in this category would also be chaplaincies and Children’s homes.
MISSION MODELS EXHIBITION
Mission can be defined as everything the church is sent into the world to do. This might include a huge variety of responses around social issues and concerns shaping responses by congregations to their context. It would most certainly also include examples of evangelistic endeavour in outreach teams of other medium of preaching and sharing groups or bands.
The conference is planning an exhibition in which persons who are engaged in outreach and developments projects will be provided with a space to share their endeavours and give information as to what they do, how they fund it or what their needs are and how the work might be multiplied. It is hoped that exhibitors will be drawn mainly from conference participants. Application for space at the exhibition needs to be made. Details will follow. A space, a table and chairs will be provided with some wall space where requested.
HELPERS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
The variety of administrative functions at the conference will need manpower. Persons willing to help with registration, venue management, transport and general help to conference participants will receive free meals, or a credit on the conference cost.
In order for the conference to succeed persons willing to put effort and leadership into continuing organisation need to be identified. These will head or innovation or continuation groups, committee and collectives or assume individual responsibility for further tasks and research. Volunteers for this function need to be identified and selected.
Day visitors to the Conference are welcome and our expectation is that they will be able to participate at the rate of R340 per day. This will include one or all programme items of personal choice as well as access to Lunch and Supper. Those interested should present themselves to the Day registration table. The full amount is payable regardless of a person coming for a portion of the day.
DATES AND DETAILS
The Conference Dates are December 2nd to 5th 2014.
The Venue will be the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary in Pietermaritzburg.
The Conference name is “Developing Resources for Church and Mission”.
Accommodation will be provided in university student rooms (2 to a room) and not dormitories. There is an advantage in many of the participants as possible taking this option in order to foster connectivity for follow up initiatives but also to build fellowship and understanding. If persons wish to arrange their own accommodation in B&Bs or among friends and family there is no proscription regarding this.
Meals: Breakfasts for those in university student accommodation will be provided each morning in the seminary refectory. All other meals will be provided by the seminary for lunch and supper
Registration: A SMMS Conferencing web page is being prepared at www.smmsconferencing.co.za Application forms can be downloaded and posted or filled in and sent by e-mail.
Cost: The Cost of the Conference will be R2100. This includes the cost of programme, meals and accommodation and special transport to other venues. Those in other self- organised sleeping arrangements will receive a discount for own accommodation.
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION: For the next two months persons registering early will have discount of R200. This offer ends on September 1st.
WEB PAGE AND REGISTRATION FORMS
The conference has a web page. For more information and the download or access to registration forms go to: http://www.smmsconferencing.co.za/?page_id=42
SMMS CONFERENCING PROJECT
Private Bag X6
Telephone (033) 8468600
Fax (033) 84686201
SETH MOKITIMI METHODIST SEMINARY
Bank: First National Bank
Branch Code: 221425
Account No: 62216384876
Account Type: Current