May 11, 2021
Last Month, South Central District Area (SCDA) Superintendent Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory and the District Area Discipleship Team – Dr. Pat McCain, Asst. DS; Rev. Gary White, Discipleship Coach; Rev. Joann Dominguez, Student Discipleship Coordinator; and Della Conner, District Administrator – hosted a gathering of the District Lay Leaders and the newly named SCDA Zone Leaders at Bosqueville UMC. Revs. Kevin Tully (Zone 1), Brad Slaten (Zone 2), Mike Kerzee (Zone 3), Amy Anderson (Zone 4), Stephen Schmidt (Zone 5), Patricia Warden (Zone 6), Jeff Smith (Zone 7) and Bryan Patrick (Zone 8) met with Central District Lay Leader Michael Miller and South District Lay Leader Barbara Hunsberger and the District Discipleship Team for a time of introduction and discussion on the vision for the district zones and Zone Leaders as well as to engage in time of prayer and sacrament with each other.
When the Forward to a New Spring plan reorganized the districts and established three district areas, District Superintendents knew that they would need to get creative and try some new and innovative ways of supporting, caring for, energizing and equipping the local churches, clergy and lay leadership of their District Areas. For, the South/Central District Area that meant figuring out how best partner with and provide resources and support for more than 160 local churches and New Faith Communities.
As the South Central District Area Superintendent Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory prayerfully contemplated how to best do this, and through discussions with the District Areas Discipleship Team, they quickly realized that one of the best resources available is the abundance of excellent and caring leadership already present throughout the districts. By breaking the Central and South Districts into Zones and identifying a Zone Leader who is primarily responsible for helping to ensure that the clergy and lay leadership of the South/Central District Area (SDCA) are getting all they need to successfully go after our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. And that isn’t limited to just resources and creative ministry ideas.
“Zone leaders are encouragers,” said Dr. Pat McCain, Assistant District Superintendent of the SCDA. “Sure, they are also fantastic and experienced colleagues and friends who can help bring resources and ideas directly to the churches in their zones. But they are also there to let our clergy and lay leaders know that ‘I got your back.’”
Beyond the roles of encouragement and support, Leah and the Discipleship Team’s vision for the Zone Leaders is to establish covenant groups anchored in sharing a sacramental life together. “We are not called to do ministry alone,” stated Dr. Hidde-Gregory. “Covenantal groups, but beyond that, Sacramental Groups are needed to strengthen and embolden those who are called to go out and offer Jesus to the world.”