Old Colony Resource Ministries Team
In January of 2006 the Old Colony Association Executive Board, along with Executive Minister, the Rev. Dr. Anthony Pappas, gathered to consider and to pray about how “Area Ministry” might be conducted in the absence of a designated TABCOM-Staffed Area Minister. Quickly, we found ourselves moved from asking about administrative solutions to asking where God might be leading us in all this. We were led from problem-thinking to possibility-thinking. The vision came that we could resource one another through a volunteer Team approach.
In keeping with the wonderful old Baptist Associational Principle for mutual aid, support and encouragement we were quickly able to name many persons in our midst who have particular skills, experience, expertise and passions. The Executive Committee created an “Area Ministries Task-Force” of eight people, including the Executive Minister, to work on this.
The Task-Force conceptualized a two-tiered ministry, as they began naming the many people already mentioned, along with others, who possess skills, expertise and experience in particular aspects of congregational life. Several individuals had already stepped forward to serve in this way. The Task-Force then realized an important ingredient in all this is an Area Minister’s ministry of presence and the kind of personal relationships that build a sense of trust with congregations and Associations. Thus we envisioned another tier of approximately 10 persons, each of whom would undertake this kind of relationship-ministry with 5 or so of our congregations – a ministry of being present, to listen, to discern and to connect congregations and their leaders to the appropriate specialized resource and to the larger Old Colony family. These people will be called Association Resource Ministers (ARMs). The skilled “experts” will be called Resource Specialists.
We are still very much in the formative stage. While the Task-Force was diligent in their work, considering how all this might be worked out, we are learning as we go. All of us who have been a part of this have tangibly felt the leading of God’s Spirit in the flow of interest, energy, ideas and joy that has emerged.
We’re not “there” yet! While it took God’s people 40 years to reach the Promised Land, we hope it will not take the Old Colony family of God’s people quite that long for us to form a viable do-it-ourselves area ministry as Baptists who believe in the power and wisdom of the Associational Principle of mutual discernment, resourcing and support. We would ask for your prayers, encouragement, patience and ideas as we seek to become instruments of a new thing we believe God is doing in our midst.
Coordinator of Area Ministries
Area Ministries Coordinator
Rev. Marlene Gil
The Reverend Marlene Gil, is our Area Ministry Coordinator. Marlene, a graduate of Yale Divinity School has served churches in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She has been active in Association affairs both with the Merrimac Valley Association and The Old Colony Association, and Old Colony Baptist Women. She also holds an MSW degree from Columbia University, and as an LCSW has had considerable professional experience in social service. She and her husband live in Swansea.