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December 3, 2018

Letter To Lay Servants Of The California-Pacific Conference

Dear Lay Servants,

Greetings fellow Sisters and Brothers in Christ. As your new California Pacific Annual Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries, I want to ask for your prayers as we together move forward in the ministry of the baptized.

Even as we consider our way forward, we pause as we enter the Advent Season with our hearts saddened by the tragic loss of life in Thousand Oaks. We pray for the victims, their families and friends but also for the lost soul who thought that this act of violence was an answer to something in his own life.

We also pray for the victims of the wild fires in Northern and Southern California. We pray for those who have lost their lives and those who have lost their homes and their communities. May God give them hope for the future as they rebuild. As followers of Jesus, let us be the hands and feet and the expression of God’s love and grace for all, even in these most trying times.

In my new position as director, I have been blessed to be copied on the Lay Servant and Certified Lay Ministries reports that you all have been completing. Your commitment and desire to serve is impressive and heartwarming. I have also had the opportunity to read your comments about what would help you in your call as Lay Servants.

While many of you expressed your thanks for what the District Directors and the conference have done and are doing, a couple of constant themes found their way in many, if not most, of the comments.

The two main themes were:

  1. More Educational and Training Opportunities: Many expressed the desire that there be more classes – both locally and on the district level. And, if possible that they be more convenient to get to.
  2. Better Communication: “What classes are being offered and where they are being offered?” was a much repeated question. Many of you are willing to travel to other districts for classes, but you would like to know what is available. Can we better use the CAL PAC Lay Servant web page to communicate with Lay Servants? Can we use other social media forms of communication?

These top two themes are not new. They have been, and will continue to be, the primary challenge for your Lay Servant Ministry Directors. We would ask for your help as well. Who among you is willing to teach a class? Who among you is willing to organize a class session? Perhaps our Certified Lay Ministers will be a resource for new education and training opportunities as well.

Other themes that came out were the desire for Lay Servants to meet with other Lay Servants both to get to know one another and to share information about Lay Servant Ministry.

Several of you gave thanks for David Johnson’s service as a Lay Servant Ministry director and wondered how we can fill the loss in the West District and the Conference. We give thanks for David’s faithful service.

Several of you also gave thanks to Doug and Judy Lewis who played a huge role in giving life to the Lay Ministry Academy. Those of us who participated in the Lay Ministry Academy will always remember their dedication and grace in leading us forward.

We are humbled by the service of those who have gone before us, but with your help and prayers we will, together, pursue as we are able, the path of Lay Ministry.

What can your Conference and District Committees do? Here is a short list of what we hope to do tin 2019:

  1. Offer a class in train the trainer. Watch for “Called to Teach” Mark your calendars – There will be a train the trainer class – “CALLED TO TEACH” lead by Melody Ashley, Cal-Pac 2018 Lay Woman of the Year, February 23, 2019, at Wilshire UMC.
  2. Improve the web page and the ability to communicate more directly with Lay Servants and Certified Lay Ministers.
  3. Develop a uniform class registration form.
  4. Improve the annual report form.
  5. Communicate where and when classes are being offered. The following are upcoming classes:

    Called to Teach – February 23, 2019
    Certified Lay Ministry Training – Cycle D – March 29 and 30 – Anaheim UMC.

And there are always informing and challenging LSM and CLM on-line classes available at BeADisciple.com

The link above is to the currently enrolling classes. The BeADisciple Course Catalog is available here.

  1. Facilitate the ability of Lay Servants to communicate between and among themselves.
  2. Clearly communicate the three Lay Servant roles:

    Certified Lay Servant
    Certified Lay Speaker
    Certified Lay Minister

Several also expressed the desire to have more opportunities for service, such as being able to preach more often or serve as lay readers in service. I cannot stress enough how important and helpful it is to work with your pastor for these opportunities and to discuss engaging and involving the laity through Lay Servant Ministries. Whether as a Certified Lay Servant, a Certified Lay Speaker of a Certified Lay Minister, the laity has much to offer in our Wesleyan tradition.

Much falls to us as the laity to develop our own roles as the ministry of the baptized. We are called to go into the world to offer the unimaginable love of God as we know it through Christ’s example. Filled with the Spirit, we will go forward together. We are called to serve the “least of these”, to offer the “cool drink of water”, the kind word of hope, the confidence of God being with us always.

Grace and Peace to You,

Howard Fallman