Regional News


March 10, 2021 Published by Neil Topliffe

CCMR & CCIW Partnership Exploration

Q 1. When will this new Regional Minister Partnership Begin with CCMR and the Christian Church Illinois/Wisconsin Region?

We are in an exploration stage currently with a joint discernment committee expecting to make a Proposal to both the CCMR Regional Board and the CCIW Regional Council for action on March 27. If approved by both regions, implementation strategies would be developed in 2021. A new Regional Partnership, if approved, will begin January 1, 2022.

Q 2. What is being proposed for a Joint Regional Partnership?

See the Proposal online – CLICK HERE


3. Why can’t CCMR just call its own Regional Minister?

Our year-long discernment process (which began in 2019) with Hope Partnership of Disciples Church Extension Fund, and acceptance of the Capacity Report from that study by the Michigan Disciples Regional Board confirmed,
a. We have reached a point in our ministry where we cannot afford a full-time Regional Minister.
b. It becomes very difficult to find a part time Regional Minister who will also have to find another part-time available church or outside job.
c. We prayerfully believe the opportunity of a new style of Partner Regional Ministry will be beneficial to both regions.

Q 4. Why don’t we partner with a region that is closer, such as Ohio or Indiana?

Engaging in conversation with the CCIW Region first was very much a call from God to our Regional Minister, Eugene James, to contact Teresa Dulyea-Parker to join him in prayer for this vision to become partner regions. This is not said lightly but in truth. Also, the Ohio Region is just completing a transition and has called a full-time Regional Minister. CCIW provides an open-minded desire to walk together in discovering a new way to be Regions in partnership with each other.

Q 5. Why don’t we just stay with our regional elder system?

For the shared Regional Minister model to work it is imperative that we have Regional Associates who will carry more responsibilities connecting with congregations and pastors. They will be an integral part of the Partnership, working closely with our shared Regional Minister.

Q 6. Won’t this arrangement lessen our congregations’ commitment to our region’s programs?

It is important to emphasize that we will remain as the Michigan Disciples region. Our new model of Partnership aims to strengthen the covenantal relationship that our region will maintain and strengthen, even as we have opportunities as two regions to draw upon the support of each other.

Q 7. How will the Illinois/Wisconsin Regional Minister make time to attend to our needs?  Isn’t she fully employed already?

The CCIW Regional Minister will be the CCMR Regional Minister focusing on specific areas including search and call support of ministers and churches; crisis support, supporting our clergy. She will work closely with Regional Associates who will support her. The CCIW Region staff may adjust some responsibilities that provide time for serving both regions.

Q 8. Why don’t we just merge with another region?

We believe this model of Partnership provides the strengths of each region while expanding program and ministry opportunities and allowing for stronger fiscal use of resources for all.

Q 9. How many churches in our two regions?

Christian Church Illinois/Wisconsin: 132   
Christian Church Michigan Region: 39

Q 10. How would we do travel reimbursement for the Regional Minister?

There will be a travel budget in CCMR for the Regional Minister. However, the largest share of connections with pastors and congregations will be by phone and computer online virtual connections.

Q 11. How do we get excited about supporting another region that is so large?

By discovering the expansion of ministry support and program resources that will become available to us and that we can share with them.

Q 12. How do we pay for the Regional Minister services?

CCMR will remunerate CCIW a set amount annually for services as described in a joint partnership agreement. Payment will not be made to the Regional Minister. The agreement for services is like the one CCMR has had for the previous 2+ years for Eugene James to give Regional Minister support to the Ohio Region.

Q 13. Will there reports by the new Partner Regional Minister to the Michigan Region?

The Regional Minister will make regular reports to the CCMR Regional Board, as the current Regional Minister does.

Q 14. Will clergy have standing in both regions?

No. Clergy will have standing in the region in which they reside, as outlined in “The Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and Canada.”

Q 15. What will happen to the Regional Office in Lansing?

A committee is exploring the possibility of selling or leasing the Regional Office. Conversations are taking place with First Christian, Lansing for an office for the Regional Administrative Assistant to use in the church.