Written by Connie Larkman
The United Church of Christ has announced new staff members on its Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization Ministry (MESA) Team. MESA, located within the Local Church Ministries Covenanted Ministry of the UCC, focuses specifically on supporting ministers in the denomination.
"In Spanish the word MESA means table," said Holly MillerShank, MESA team leader. "Our work as a ministry team is to support the tables where authorized ministers serve – be that Christ's table where the Holy Meal is served, the tables in a local shelter where the needs of the community are served, or fellowship hall tables where Committees on Ministry gather to discern new authorized leadership for the UCC."
Effective September 17, 2012, the following staff will join the team at the Church House in Cleveland:
The Rev. Kathy Clark joins the MESA team as minister for members in discernment. Clark is an ordained UCC minister who most recently served as Associate Conference Minister for Ministry Formation and Leadership Development for the Southeast Conference. Her primary responsibility will be to foster a culture of call within the UCC .
The Rev. Elizabeth Dilley joins the MESA team as minister for ministers in local churches. Dilley comes to Cleveland after serving nine years at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Red Oak – a small, thriving, open and affirming congregation in rural Iowa. Through her experience in many local ministries, Dilley will strive to encourage the ongoing covenant between ministers, associations, conferences and the national setting of the church. She will also work to strengthen a culture of lifelong learning and continuing education among authorized ministers.
The Rev. Malcolm Himschoot joins the MESA team as minister for ministerial transition. With 10 years of experience in UCC settings as a transitional pastor, Himschoot will support clergy and covenant partners during significant seasons of change: interims, retirements, denominational journeys, and search-and-call processes. Other responsibilities will include engaging partners in researching, developing and disseminating resources on ministerial transition in the UCC, and supporting interim ministers in the UCC.
Karen Koza came on board this spring as the administrative assistant for MESA and the Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministries (CVD). Karen has traveled the world with the U.S. Navy. After returning to her native state of Ohio, she used her significant data skills at NASA doing computer programing related to Y2K. Koza works to provide administrative support for the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization and Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Team Leaders, coordinate calendars for MESA and CVD teams and provide technical support for webinars, video chats and other electronic communications.
With this new team in place, the UCC will be equipped to offer increased support for our current authorized ministers, those called to ministry, or those trying to perceive a call. "As Team Leader for MESA, I am particularly excited about the skills and experience that Kathy, Elizabeth, Malcolm and Karen will bring to these tables as we strive to support authorized ministers in our denomination," said MillerShank.
More information about the UCC MESA team.