I am nearing the end of a round of District meetings and other gatherings to both listen and share with laity and clergy alike on the future of the Church and the re-alignment of ministry resources in the Central Texas Conference. Earlier today I met with the retired clergy to discuss realignment. Their perspective was and is invaluable. As I listened to their questions and comments, what struck me most deeply was their forward thinking. Many, if not all of them, understand that this is a different day and we desperately need greater flexibility to respond to outreach opportunities. Imbedded in their comments and questions were passionate convictions about changing a clergy culture. A number of speakers spoke of the need to engage the non-Christian culture with a stance of open listening and interpersonal involvement. There were strong comments about recovering a sense of how to share the faith (evangelistic witness) and move beyond the church walls. Listening and dialoguing with them, I felt that sense of “being surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). Their openness, their commitment, their engagement was and is impressive. We as a Conference have been and continue to be blessed by them.