The 2017 Clergy Covenant Day gathering, help Wednesday, October 25, was an opportunity for Indiana Annual Conference clergy to reunite as colleagues and strengthen the clergy covenant, while also taking the time to celebrate and worship with one another. 

Nearly 400 clergy gathered at Zionsville United Methodist Church for this occasion to reconnect with long-time friends, network with new ones, fellowship, worship, and learn how to apply to their ministries, new teachings, as well as in their daily lives. 

The Rev. Dr. Maria Dixon Hall provided a moving and eye-opening lecture on ‘Cultural Intelligence.’ Hall describes cultural intelligence as “the ability to function, communicate, and manage effectively in complex and changing cultural context; whether it’s ethnicity, nationality, generationally, or organizationally.” It is the practice of being culturally ‘woke’ — being considerate and sensitive to the way we interact with people of ethnicities different from our own. 

Hall states that cultural intelligence stemmed from the business world and became prevalent when the US began doing business trades with China. The concept was developed out of concern that American business executives would present themselves as culturally illiterate, risking the chance of offending Chinese business prospects — ultimately “making fools of themselves” and giving the US a ‘bad wrap.’

Hall states that cultural intelligence is not simply working to comprehend and practice “the rules for touching, eating, and greetings, and how to avoid disrespecting our host.” It is about respecting and trying our hardest to speak the cultural language of the cities we visit, abroad, and here at home. Learning how to speak more cultural languages will help make us more effective and sensitive humans through the process of shared meaning. 

“It’s not about appreciation. It’s about learning to talk to each other,” says Hall. 

In relation to Indiana, Hall shared during her presentation that the vast majority are the emerging populations throughout Indiana in under the age of 45. African American, in particular, are prevalent in the following demographics: Preschool, school age, college age, and young adult. Every other race makes up the majority near the end of their lifespan. Hispanics are the next majority race in those categories. In total, those demographics make up to 26% (1.4 million) of the population that lack a relationship with God.

“Your future and the demographics of your future are changing,” remarked Rev. Hall. “The harvest is great.”

Hall lives in Dallas, Tex. and serves as the Senior Advisor to the Provost for Campus Intelligence Initiatives at Southern Methodist University. She has received many accolades as an experienced and passionate teacher, including the 2010 Rotunda Award for Outstanding Teaching, and was the winner of the 2016 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Fellow award.

The afternoon session allowed an opportunity to recognize, the third class of Called to Fruitfulness, celebrating those with a five-year anniversary interval of Full Connection in The United Methodist Church. Launched in April 2015, Called to Fruitfulness’ purpose is the Indiana Conference Leadership Development’s commitment to professional development for clergy by recognizing, renewing, reflecting, resourcing and rejoicing with those who choose to participate in this initiative.

The following clergy were celebrated: 

35 Years:  Byron Fritz, Larry VanCamp, Beth Watson
30 Years:  Doug Finney, Byron Kaiser, Ken Wells, Charlie Wilfong
25 Years:  Andy Kinsey, Jacqueline Chandler, Bob Raschka, Jeff Reed
20 Years:  Chris Danielson, John Hogsett, Michelle Knight, Tracey Leslie
10 Years:  John Adams, Shalimar Holderly, Matthew Leffler, Jim  Moon
5 Years:    Devin Cook, Colin Cress, Ed Fisher, Andrea Lantz, Ruth Waite

During his afternoon message, Bishop Trimble reminded us that we have a common center, that is Jesus Christ and that God uses each of us to drop our differences and do the work of bringing all things together. Carrying out the theme of the day of, Together we are more, Bishop Trimble took time to encourage, challenge, and celebrate the clergy of the Indiana Conference. 

The day ended with an opportunity to come together and partake in communion as well as a time of prayer. 


Watch talk given by Dr. Maria Dixon Hall 
View PowerPoint presentation given by Dr. Maria Dixon Hall