MidMaine Resource Day features Jim Melson


November 29, 2017

MidMaine District Superintendent Karen L. Munson shares this account of the district's most recent Resource Day:

What gets friendly but stoic Yankees engaged in exploring the inward/outward journey of spiritual formation and missional living together? 

An Oct. 14, 2017 visit from Cornelius Corps founder Jim Melson was just the ticket.​ Cornelius Corps is a network (corps) of churches and individuals committed to a shared journey of racial justice/reconciliation and spiritual formation based in Washington, DC.

More than 50 participants from 27 churches in the MidMaine District gathered at Green St. UMC in Augusta to
Jim Melson (click image for larger version)
learn about a simple and profound way of being church. This model of following Jesus, developed by members of the Church of Savior in Washington, DC, and honed over years of practice in small congregations, held great appeal for the small but mighty mission oriented churches of MidMaine
 
My own experience with Church of the Saviors congregations, particularly New Community and Christ House, in the 1980s has been formative in my ministry. Seeing potential in the Mission Group structure for churches in various stages of renewal and transformation, I invited Dr. Melson (my teaching pastor during seminary) to be the district’s fall resource weekend leader. (Resource Days are an innovative initiative of Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar to bring excellent resources to New England’s UMC congregations and leaders). The Mission Group model fits the district’s hunger to simplify structures and move from a primary emphasis on planning programs to a practice of cultivating disciples. 
 
Jim’s experiential Saturday workshop excited participants who took ideas home to their own churches. Already, the possibilities are percolating through the district. Many are open to more closely integrating spiritual formation with efforts to transform our communities and world. At the same time, many were challenged by the level of commitment inherent in Mission Groups.
 
Jim also met over dinner with a dozen pastors and lay people committed to re-forming Methodism in their own MidMaine communities. An eight-member online Mission Group is developing from these participants.

On Sunday, Jim preached and workshopped specifically with Green St. UMC, in Maine’s capital. This congregation has recommitted itself to remaining in an economically challenged downtown where its neighbors are halfway houses, and social services are growing increasingly slim. In 2016, with the leadership of Rev. Kristin White, Green St. began recreating its structure around covenant communities. Jim’s visit was encouragement that they were on the right track and inspiration to live more deeply into their commitment to follow Jesus’ lead. 

You are welcome to attend Resource Days in any district. Learn about what's coming up here.