Monday, June 30, 2014

Laity: Called to make a difference

By Rose Baker and Teryl Cartwright

John Konieczny opened the Laity Session of the 2014 Susquehanna Annual Conference with a call challenging us to raise up transformational leaders and to be transformational leaders through our love, integrity, and compassion.

“People who make a difference aren’t the ones with credentials. In our minds and thoughts, they are those who have the right heart,” adding, “God is not concerned with ability, but availability.”

In order to intentionally build a Culture of the Call in the Susquehanna Conference, all laity is to engage and serve through our examples and responses to God’s call. To take that first step, the next presenter, Carol Diffenbaugh, invited us to ask, “God, how am I to serve you?”

Several discerning events coming up include God’s Call in Williamsport, and Explore and Serve in August. Immediately after Annual Conference, a new ten-day, online course is available to strengthen connections while listening for our call. “I compare leadership in the church to baseball,” Carol said. “One thing I want you to take home to your churches is that we need to get out of the dugout and onto the playing field.”

Each district will be “Equipping God’s People” through a new class, calling churches to make shifts in order to “take ownership of the change we want to see.” Diane Konieczny will be facilitating these sessions to revitalize churches developing disciples to transform the world. Participants in the pilot program especially expressed appreciation for the chance to meet and learn from each other. “We are called,” Diane said, “even if it means to put something on our plate we have to take something off.”

Leadership takes other forms for lay volunteers, including the Conference Response Team. As explained by Betty Westlake-Reist, in this ministry advocates are trained to help members of any congregation in which there has been an incident of sexual misconduct allegations for a pastor. Beside boundaries education to create safe ministry environments, we were reminded that leadership call includes reporting any misconduct in order to help prevent and deal with this issue.

Anne Horton wrapped up the session with a call to lead our youth, and encourage
and lead our youth to engage in the camping programs and outdoor setting for another way to develop and gain leadership. “Camps help children and youth to develop independence, to unplug, and to ask the tough questions,” she said.

For more information, contact:

Carol Diffenbaugh,

Diane Konieczny, 570-323-9161

Betty Westlake-Reist,

Anne Horton,

The video of the Laity Session can be viewed at

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