Wings and weight may seem to conjure up opposite images, but in the mind of the Rev. Jim Moos, nominee for Executive Minister for the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries, both wings and weight are essential as the church begins to imagine what’s possible.
“’Imagine’ is a word with wings,” he told delegates in introducing himself on Friday evening. “’Possible’ is a word with weight.”
He cited the example of the famous “Haystack Meeting” in 1806. Then, five students at Williams College, Mass., took shelter under a haystack during a rainstorm. Joining in prayer, they pledged themselves to volunteer in mission.
Their subsequent mission service led to the formation of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission. Two hundred years later, Moos pointed out, the American Board is still a vital part of the UCC, through our Global Ministries partnership with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Wings and weight. The five students brought imagination to the call to mission, he said. But their vision needed weight, the experience and institutional support of church elders.
“Wings lift us above current reality,” said Moos. “Weight keeps us connected to real needs of God’s people and of all creation. Wings without weight is fantasy. Weight without wings is despair. Both are essential if peace and justice are to be established.”
But youth don’t have a corner on the imagination market, he insisted.
“Our youth and young adults, our clergy in their 20s and 30s aren’t future leaders, not leaders in training,” he said. “Your gifts and graces are active and needed now.” And to applause, he added, “Because of you, new things are added.”
In introducing himself, he noted two things.
“I see myself as a hard-nosed realist,” he said. “But I am not in despair. I have confidence that the journey ahead will be filled not only with challenges, but also with joy, expectation and new opportunities…Those ministries are already taking shape.”
Since 1996, Moos has served as senior pastor of Bismarck (N.D.) UCC. He has also been an U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain, a member and chair of the UCC Executive Council, and a member of the Wider Church Ministries board.
In 2002, Moos volunteered his sabbatical time to Wider Church Ministries. “Where can I be useful?” he asked. The answer: East Timor, the first new nation of the 21st century and one of the poorest on the globe. His efforts resulted in a new school in the village of Lisa Dila, about four hours south of Dili, the capital.
General Synod delegates vote on the election of Moos and the other Collegium nominees on Monday evening.