As I consider my time in the TiM program, I begin to think of the connections that I have made in the past four years. By being part of the TiM program, I believe my connection within the conference has strengthened and there is a sense of belonging between myself and other participants in the program. In some way, I honestly feel as though there is (for lack of a better way to describe it) a feeling of ownership and even pride in our annual conference because we have a program that no other annual conference has. I have been given the opportunity to learn, grow, and expand my theological understanding by participating in retreats, workshops and meetings that challenge my concepts of traditional ministry. During our times together, we are given space and time to interact with others who think differently than ourselves but are reaching towards the common goal of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I think of the relationships that I have built within the various classes of this program and am so very glad I am able to connect and meet with such a diverse group of people. Through our retreats and time together, Ashlee has done a phenomenal job of giving us space to build friendships with each other and the mentor pastors. I have moved beyond being merely acquaintances with young clergy in our program to being close friends with them and their families. Participating in this program has helped me to know that I am not walking this journey alone and am surrounded by friends who are carrying the joys and burdens of the church today with me.
One of the most valuable experiences I’ve had has been to attend the TiM Gathering in Indianapolis, Indiana the past three years. Each year has been full of great speakers and beautiful times of worship. But, the best part for me has been spending time with the others in our TiM program who are also attending the conference hosted by the Lily Foundation. Attending this conference has been an amazing way to get to know others without the distractions we normally surround ourselves with giving us space to truly be present with one another.
As I’m beginning the fourth year of the program, I am also grateful for the connection and guidance we have from Nancy Lambert. Her leadership, wisdom and input has been so very beneficial for me personally and I appreciate the advice and opportunities she has given. I also know she takes her role as an advocate for TiM pastors seriously and as a sacred duty and I am honored that she does so. Both Ashlee and Nancy are such assets to our conference, more specifically to the TiM program. I know they both work hard and fight for all that we have to keep this program going.