By Dr. Brad Brady
June is transition time for many ministries across our Annual Conference. The South Georgia Conference Office of Connectional Ministries is no different as we welcome Allison Lindsey and Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed who are joining our staff as Associate Directors.
Allison and Abra join our Connectional Ministries team following a realignment of staff assignments subsequent to Rev. Doreen Smalls’ new appointment to a local church and Jim Towson’s decision to join a local church staff earlier this year.
With the staff changes and the reductions in the Annual Conference budget, the Personnel Committee sought creative alternatives for providing leadership for our ministries.
One of the first changes was to separate the summer camp director’s role away from an Associate Director’s portfolio. Rev. C.J. Harp was invited to take this significant leadership role while maintaining his appointment as Campus Minister at Valdosta State Wesley Foundation.
We are grateful that the VSU Wesley Foundation Board supported this experiment and that C.J. and his family were willing to relocate to St. Simons Island for the summer camp period. C.J. is already making a significant impact on team members. God is blessing this staffing pattern shift.
Once summer camp was removed from one Associate Director’s position there was creative freedom to redesign the remaining job portfolios. With the freedom to redesign on one side and the need to reduce expenses on the other, it was decided that we would reconfigure the positions into one full-time Associate Director position and one part-time Associate Director position.
Allison Lindsey, who has served as Nurture Team chair for the last four years, was selected by the Personnel Committee to fill the full-time Associate Director’s position. Allison will work with the Nurture, Outreach and Witness teams as well as other duties.
Allison most recently served as Director of Children’s Ministries and Programs at Douglas First United Methodist Church, having finished 10 years in this position.
She has served on the Conference Safe Sanctuaries Team since its inception and co-led many of the Connectional Ministries’ training workshops. Allison helped design, launch and perpetuate the Nurture Café, which has helped to resource many local churches. Her experience spearheading the Confirmation Retreat and teaching various workshops, including the children’s portion of the School of Christian Mission, makes Allison Lindsey the ideal person to bring into the newly configured role.
Allison is passionate about her faith and goes the second mile to make every experience high quality and potentially life changing for every participant. Allison’s energy is contagious, her credibility is high, and many have experienced her gift of servant-leadership. Allison’s election to and participation in the General Conference delegation broadens her understanding of our connection—and this will benefit us all.
Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed, a bi-vocational pastor, was appointed by Bishop James King to serve as the part-time Connectional Ministries Associate Director. In her new appointment, which was effective June 13, Abra will work with the Advocacy Team as well as other responsibilities.
Abra recently served as Associate Pastor of The Chapel, a United Methodist congregation in Brunswick. In that role, she focused on helping congregants build an intentional community where faith, love and the saving grace of Jesus Christ abounds. Coincidently, this was a cross-racial appointment, the first within the Waycross District.
Abra’s “day-job” has been as a career civil servant and professional for the Federal Government for the past 29 years. She currently serves as the Administrative Officer for the Department of Justice, United States Marshals Service at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. With her seniority, accumulated leave and advanced planning, we expect Abra to be available for most of the weekday assignments that might require her presence in this quarter-time position.
It takes less than a minute for anyone meeting Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed to know that she is a child of God and a servant of Jesus Christ. Whether it is in a meeting, in casual conversation, in a worship setting, in preaching moment, in serving with her on a justice or evangelistic team, or in any encounter with her at FLETC, you sense the genuine witness of one who has a rich heritage of Christian service.
During the consultation phase of appointment making, the Cabinet learned of Abra’s willingness to be considered for another appointment, if it was the Lord’s leading. Her gifts, graces, and experiences quickly elevated her in the Cabinet’s discernment process for this position. When this proposed appointment was tested with the Conference Personnel Committee there was immediate affirmation and delight.
The winter and spring have been unsettling times for all segments of our conference life as leaders have prayerfully considered every way possible to reduce expenses while enhancing disciple-formation. Add the uncertainty created by personnel transitions to the financial questions and there is a substantial amount of stress present in and around Connectional Ministries.
As we prepare to launch into this new conference year, we are confident in the provision and empowerment of the Lord. As this new team forms, we are energized by the challenge of creating a new future that resources disciple formation and expands the witness of God.