Advent greetings to you on this December day. It always seems that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas passes quickly, all flowing together in a holiday rush. Even in this unusual second year of pandemic, this early December still feels in the holiday flow from Thanksgiving, to Advent, and toward Christmas.
As we gathered for our Missional Leadership Team (MLT) meeting, the tenor of our gathering was very much in the spirit of both the Thanksgiving and Advent seasons. Many times throughout the day, we spoke of our gratitude for the ways God has been at work in conference this year. We are so grateful for the faithfulness, passion, and service of Joanne and Sharon as conference ministers. They are not only sustaining but evolving the ministry of IMMC, aided tremendously by the capable and Spirit-filled work of Clayton as Office Administrator and Jim Norton’s valuable and faithful work as bookkeeper. We are also giving thanks for the ongoing care and passion of the Leadership Teams and congregations in bringing the mission and vision to life. Our own gathering was deeply enriched by the addition of new MLT members Shawn Lange and Rolando Sosa, and we offer praise to God for their willingness to enter into their new roles with energy, care, and prayer. The spirit of Thanksgiving filled our hearts and our time together.
At the same time, I felt the spirit of Advent alive and among us. There was a deep sense of watchfulness and anticipation for the ways that Christ will be born into our conference in new ways in the coming seasons. One of the most “pregnant” efforts of IMMC these days is our Growing Our Intercultural Witness focus; as we engaged conversations about leadership trainings and discussed names of people to make up the Intercultural Working Group, I felt the presence of Christ drawing near. I wait with eager anticipation for the new life this focus will bring in our conference.
In this season when we hold gratitude for all God has done, awareness of all God is doing, and expectation for all God will do; may we give thanks and watchfully anticipate that the Spirit of the same Christ who was born in Bethlehem is being born anew among us in Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference!
Naomi Yoder, MLT Secretary