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Words of Greetings to FOCUS Reunion, October 2, 2008
The Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte, Executive Minister, UCC Wider Church Ministries
It is so good to have you here! Thank you so much for wanting to be here and for responding to the invitation to consider revitalizing FOCUS!
I always wanted to be a board member of the UCBWM… but I had to serve on Executive Council instead. I was always jealous of those who served on UCBWM – I always had a fondness for the "world board", a passion for God's mission around the world, a love of the history of the ABCFM and the UCBWM, and a deep respect for the leadership of the UCBWM and its "culture" and its values and the people associated with it!
You are among our "honored ones" – and it is indeed an honor to welcome you to Cleveland and to Wider Church Ministries!!
In some way or other most of you were also part of the wonderful ecumenical journey we've been on with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for a number of years – first in "joint" work in Southern Asia, then at other times, through the Latin America/Caribbean area office, and then finally all that work in the early 1990's which led to the establishment of a real ecumenical "first" – two U.S. denominations agreeing to do all its work overseas with mission partners and through mission personnel completely "together" – not just "joint" any more but "common" – common staff, common budget, common partners, common board (half UCC and half Disciples)– and some of you were instrumental in the wonderful addition of mandating 6 international board members which is so important in our life together now. (NOTE: Common Global Ministries Board is the name of the board of directors. Our short-hand name for the staff and the work is "Global Ministries".)
I know things are different now – and that you don't know our current staff and program the way you used to – but I hope it won't take you very long to feel "at home" with us now - - we are all part of the same "extended family" – and I am eager to hear your memories and hopes, to learn from you, as well as to have you meet our staff, learn more about the ways we work today, and to feel connected! If you haven't visited our WCM and Global Ministries offices on the 7th floor of 700 Prospect, I hope you will go on the tour – or I can arrange for you to go see the offices at another time.
I'll be glad to take questions and also to have personal conversations with many of you over the next several days. It is just so wonderful to have you with us; you have given so much of your life and energy and commitment to this continuing ministry and we are delighted that you are here today!