Over 200 laity and clergy from the Murfreesboro District gathered for the annual Shepherd School on Sunday, February 12 at Tullahoma First United Methodist Church.
The afternoon began with a variety of workshops for both laity and clergy. Rose Ellis, Cokesbury representative to the TN Conference, shared information on 2017 Vacation Bible School curriculum options. Attendees had an opportunity to look through material and ask questions as well as collect useful information to share with their congregation as they think about summer programming.
Conference lay leader Holly Neal met with attendees to discuss spiritual formation. Director of Next Gen Ministry Brad Fiscus hosted a small group to share about youth ministry. Other workshops included Staff Parish Relations led by Rev. LeNoir Culbertson, a conversation on finance with Rev. Phil Jamieson, “Having Difficult Conversations” taught by Rev. Tom Laney, compassion ministries with Rev. John Hembree, and an information session on modular home builds with Paul Givens.
Many of the workshop leaders, camp and retreat staff, and a representative from Project Transformation were available to answer questions in a display area before the workshops began. The Project Transformation representative collected new and gently used books for the new site beginning this summer at Woodbury United Methodist Church.
After the workshops, attendees had an opportunity to participate in a hands-on experience. Several attendees put together over 100 health kits that will be delivered to UMCOR in March. A smaller group of attendees built a section of a modular home with Paul Givens. About 150 people packaged 20,000 meals in two hours for Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now).
Many churches from across the district were represented, sharing in a time of learning and discovering new ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their community and in the world.
About The Shepherd School:
The Shepherd School offers an opportunity for laity and clergy to find ways to serve in the conference, district, and local church. All of the hands-on experiences are replicable in the local church. Smaller member churches are encouraged to partner together to accomplish some of the larger tasks such as hosting a meal-packaging event. These types of events allow members of different United Methodist congregations an opportunity to interact with one another, often bumping shoulders with members from churches not too far from their home church. Serving together toward a common goal, such as packaging 20,000 meals, helps strangers find fellowship and common ground. The training offered also allows laity and clergy time with conference and district staff, as well as others who serve as helpful resources throughout the Tennessee Conference.