Teresa Dulyea-Parker and Eugene James, Regional Ministers of the Christian Church in Illinois/Wisconsin and Michigan, respectively, have announced the receipt of a $15,000 grant from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation, Indianapolis, to support the regions as they move toward working together in a new partner relationship.
Beginning in January 2022, Rev. Dr. Dulyea-Parker is expected to serve both Illinois/Wisconsin and Michigan Regions as Regional Minister and to lead the two regions in discovering mutual means of engaging in ministry together even as they continue to be two legally independent regions. Rev. James will retire as Michigan Regional Minister in December.
“This grant will help us become a new model for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) by carrying out regional ministry in a shared collaborative partnership within two Regions,” noted the Rev. Dr. Dulyea-Parker. “We look forward to drawing upon leadership and program gifts within each region that will strengthen our congregations.”
The new Partner plan includes Michigan calling four clergy as Regional Associates. They will receive a stipend, work part-time in supporting a cluster of congregations and clergy in their districts.
“Building up the spirit of connection among clergy and congregations in the four districts of the Michigan Region also will be an emphasis going forward,” Rev. James said. “The grant will provide support for the strategies developed by the Michigan Region’s Church Growth and Vitality Commission, working with Regional Associates and the Regional Minister,” he added.
Several events are planned in 2022 to launch the partnership, including a clergy retreat in April for clergy from both regions and fall leader events for local churches.
Dr. David Anderson Hooker of the Kroc Institute at Notre Dame University will be the keynoter at the Clergy Retreat, focusing on issues of anti-racism. Dr. Hooker is Professor of the Practice of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies within the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs.
Final approval of the two region Partner covenant agreement is anticipated at the September 11 Michigan Disciples Regional Assembly to be held virtually via Zoom.