From the moderator: Reflecting on transition
This is a tough time for the BIC. In the aftermath of recent resignations, the pain is acute for some and distressing for all of us. At times like this, it is best to talk face-to-face. Since we cannot, I want to at least share my heart by video and in some written reflections.
Two bishops resign
Early last month, it was announced to BIC congregations in North America that Doug Sider, bishop of the Susquehanna Conference, and Nate Yoder, bishop of the Atlantic Conference, had resigned from their respective roles. Their service as bishops will conclude on January 1, 2012. There were no questions about moral or character issues, and the resignations were voluntary and unexpected. Nate and Doug have granted the BIC Church permission to release their letters of resignation to any lead pastor or church board that requests them from the BIC Church offices.
We are thankful to these colleagues and their families for their service to the Church.
In response to these resignations, the General Conference Board has begun working to discern and, as needed, to address issues that precipitated them, whether systemic or personnel-related. This effort began immediately by teleconference, is currently underway, and will be continuing in upcoming in-person meetings.
Interim bishops appointed for Atlantic and Susquehanna Conference
On December 18, the Susquehanna and Atlantic Conferences learned of the appointments of Dr. Kenneth O. Hoke and Rev. Pauline C. Peifer as interim bishops of their respective Conferences, who were both unanimously affirmed by their Conference board of directors.
In addition to these leadership transitions, two more are in process. Joy Bochniak, executive director of finances, accepted a position at Ahold Financial Service, beginning her work there on December 12, but will continue to provide assistance to the Church on a consultant basis.
Eduardo Llanes, bishop of the Southeast Conference, has indicated that he will conclude his work in July 2012. To provide some background, in 2008, when Eduardo accepted a full, six-year term—a time span that would take him into his early 70s—provision was made for an earlier conclusion at his discretion.
Both Joy and Eduardo are permitting the release of their letters of resignation to any lead pastors or church boards that request them from the BIC Church offices.
We are grateful to both Eduardo—who has faithfully served as a church planter, cluster leader, associate, and bishop for 27 years—and Joy—who has worked over the last year in leading the finance department.
Stiff challenges in 2012
This past weekend, at a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., we talked with leaders of other denominations. Whether due to the economy, cultural shifts, or internal dynamics, many church families are hard-pressed at this time. As the BIC Church, we are no different. We plan to share about these issues more fully in the next issue of "Momentum," but for now, we'd like to simply introduce some of them to you now.
A special call to prayer
A BIC pastor who recently wrote encouraged us to call the Church to prayer. We agree that intercession for the Church is urgent. So, we are acting on the prophetic word of the prophet Joel: “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” (Joel 1:14)
We urge you, especially during the upcoming church-wide Week of Prayer and Fasting (Jan. 1–8, 2012), to pray for the BIC church family.
While we're making a more general list of prayer requests for congregants to draw upon during the Week of Prayer and Fasting, we've also created a list of specific praises and requests for you, as leaders in the Church »
Changes to BIC Health Plan
Beginning on January 1, 2012, the BIC Congregational Health Plan will be administered by D. H. Evans and Associates. While the plan administrator will be changing from Everence to D. H. Evans, the plan benefits will not be changing. Additional information on this change will be made available at bic-church.org in the coming weeks, but here are a few notes for those taking part in the BIC Health Plan:
Insurance cards from the new plan administrators should be mailed out in late December.
We would recommend for those who have maintenance prescriptions that they must fill on a regular basis, please do so, using the prescription card issued by Everence (through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield), before December 31, so you are not without needed medicines at the first of the new year.
A web portal is being created and will be available at bic-church.org soon. This portal will provide useful information on providers, plan benefits, prescriptions, and enrollment.
Contact Pam Arnold, executive to the moderator and the plan representative, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 717.697.2634, with any questions.
General Conference 2012 update
The 122nd General Conference of the BIC Church in North America will take place July 6–9, 2012, at the Ontario (Calif.) Convention Center. An email has been sent out to all congregations, summarizing some of the issues that will be discussed, estimated costs, etc.
If you did not receive this email or if you have questions about GC 2012, visit the GC 2012 page »
2012 BIC Week of Prayer and Fasting
From January 1–8, thousands of BIC believers from across North America embark upon the new year by joining in the BIC Week of Prayer and Fasting. To provide direction for this year’s event, a weeklong devotional ("Following Jesus"), a calendar of prayer events, and a list of prayer items have been collected. These (and other) resources are available in English or Spanish »
2011 end-of-year reports to follow last year’s course
BIC churches across North America are required to complete end-of-year reports for their Regional Conference and the General Church. Last year, these entities worked hard to create a streamlined, user-friendly, and eco-friendly process of online reporting for churches.
Building upon last year’s progress, Regional Conferences will, in the coming weeks, begin sending churches end-of-year reports (Personnel Report, Statistical & Financial Report, and Regional Conference Reports), along with instructions on how to complete them.
The deadline for submitting these end-of-year reports to the appropriate Regional Conference and the General Church is Tuesday, January 31st.
Join in Transformation 2012
At General Conference in 2010, 500+ pastors and delegates adopted Transformation 2020, a vision for the BIC Church in North America over the next decade. In order to move this 10-year vision into action, Leadership Council eagerly presents Transformation 2012, three ambitious goals for the Church in 2012:
1 expanded ministry of global outreach
25 new churches & sites
50 new millennial leaders
Congregations asked to submit 2012 CM commitments
This month, BIC congregations in the U.S. will receive the annual Cooperative Ministries (CM) appeal from the bishops of their respective Regional Conference and Warren Hoffman (BIC Church moderator). The appeal includes a brochure that presents the three Transformation 2012 goals, as well as a letter encouraging churches to help accomplish these goals (amid our other ongoing commitments) by supporting CM. Churches are asked to submit their CM commitment forms online by Tuesday, January 31st.
Equipping for Ministry fee structure to change
This year, an audit of Equipping for Ministry revealed that the true cost of Equipping for Ministry offerings were not being covered by the registrations fees currently in place. In order to cover this gap, registration fees will be increased, effective January 15, 2012 for the following Equipping for Ministry categories:
Core Course—for credentialing credit: $150 (from $125)
Core Course—for seminary credit: $200 (from $175)
Impact Seminars: $70 (from $50) per person; groups will still receive a discount
Conversations continue to take place over a fee adjustment for the Directed Studies Program, and more information will be provided as it is made available.
Fall 2011 issue of IN PART now online
In the midst of growing diversity, how can we relate to each other? This is the question that the most recent edition of IN PART examines.
Have a blessed Christmas,
“When I tell my ministry colleagues that after working as an independent church for so many years, we’ve joined a denomination, they go into shock. They get even more surprised when I tell them about the history, the values, and the outlook on life and faith of the BIC. We are grateful to God for being part of this family.”
—Alex Alvarado, pastor of Ciudad de Dios (San Jose, Costa Rica), from his meditation in Following JesusCM spotlight
A portion of funds given to Cooperative Ministries is used to engage workers for the BIC General Church Offices in Grantham, Pa. To provide a better sense of what these employees do and how they might serve you, we'd like to introduce you to some of them, including...
Name: Micah Brickner
Role: Executive assistant to the general secretary
Start date: September 2011
Favorite part of job: Meeting so many of our pastors and church family
See me if: You have questions about topics related to the office of the general secretary—such as General Conference, the General Church directory, the World Hunger Fund, or the Manual of Doctrine & Governance.
Fun fact: I play four different instruments—guitar, bass, piano, and violin—and I love to cook and experience all different types of cuisine.