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138th West Virginia Council of Churches Annual Assembly: October 13 – 14
October 14, 2019 @ 8:00 am - October 15, 2019 @ 4:00 pm
To view the agenda: https://wvcc.org/agenda/
West Virginia Council of ChurchesEcumenical Calling
September 30, 2019
Registration Deadline – October 10, 2019, 5:00 p.m.
Please register for the Annual Assembly, October 14, 2019 here.
“Conflict and reconciliation, the Bible teaches us, is about how we have our minds set . . . The Bible teaches us that it is not as important to be right as to do the things that help a situation (life) go well.” – Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball
The 138th Annual Assembly takes place on October 14 and will offer two tracks this year: Faith and Order and Life and Works. The Faith and Order track will offer time for theological reflection, while the Life and Work track will focus on ministry issues facing the local church. Our keynote speaker this year is Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, who will lead the Annual Assembly off with a presentation on The Anatomy of Peace.
Sandra L. Steiner Ball, the daughter of Edward J. and the late Marjorie W. Steiner, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and raised in Milford, Delaware. She is a graduate of Dickinson College, (B.A. in Religion, 1984), Duke Divinity School (M.Div., 1987), and Wesley Theological Seminary (D.Min., 2003).
Sandra was ordained Deacon and Elder by Bishop Joseph H. Yeakel in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. She has served as an associate pastor, lead pastor, District Superintendent, and Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM). During her last year as a DCM, she also served as interim pastor of Bayside Chapel, a new church start. Sandra was in this position when elected to the episcopacy by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2012 and was assigned to the West Virginia Area.
Bishop Steiner Ball and her husband, The Rev. Dr. Barry D. Steiner Ball, have two daughters: Sarah Elizabeth McCammon and Sandra Rebekah Ball.
West Virginia Council of Churches (WVCC): Please tell us a little about your faith journey.
Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball: I grew up in the church. My father was a layperson who was very active in the church and expected participation and engagement from his family. He was the spiritual leader in my family for my growing up years. He began teaching Sunday School when he was in College and only quit teaching a class a couple of years ago. His life continues to be a lesson in Christian leadership, mission, and care for the other. I heard my call to ministry while in High School. I continue to hear that call as strongly today as I did then. When I grow up I hope that my life will bear witness to the light, hope, and life-giving power of Jesus Christ.
WVCC: What do you see as the sources of conflict in the world today?
Bishop Steiner Ball: The sources of conflict in today’s world are people. We have forgotten that conflict is simply two or more ideas at the same time in the same place. There is nothing negative about different ideas or opinions. Sometimes what we do with these can be negative or positive. Usually, negative conflict escalates when we forget to treat people as people and instead treat them as objects. Instead of debating and or discussing issues, we attack.
WVCC: What can the Bible teach us about conflict and reconciliation?
Bishop Steiner Ball: “God so loved the world that God gave …… God did not send God’s son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world may have life through him.” John 3: 16 – 17
I John 3 : 16 – 17: “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help.”
Colossian 3: 12 – 17: “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing …”
Conflict and reconciliation, the Bible teaches us, is about how we have our minds set. We can choose to have an inner or outer mindset. The outer mindset is all about what God has modeled for us – God gave. The Bible teaches us that it is not as important to be right as to do the things that help a situation (life) go well.
WVCC: What impact has the Anatomy of Peace made in your life?
Bishop Steiner Ball: The Anatomy of Peace has helped me to understand the impact and influence I bring to a conflictual situation when I can approach that situation with a heart of peace (outer mindset) instead of coming into the situation with a heart of war (inner mindset).
WVCC: What are some of the things that you hope to lift up in your address to the Annual Assembly?
Bishop Steiner Ball: I hope to lift up the difference between having a heart of war and a heart of peace. I hope to invite people into understanding how – in conflictual situations – we can actually get caught up in unconsciously inviting the very behavior we do not want and perpetuating the conflict. I want to introduce people to the pyramid of influence in order to give them a process for how to help things go well – instead of jumping into correcting or fixing as an answer to conflict.
We hope to see you there!