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Shepherding Team moves forward on goals

Posted: October 30 2019 at 12:00 AM

The goals are set and the Annual Conference Shepherding Team (ACST) is ramping up their work to help congregations grow. The three top goals approved at the 2019 June Annual Conference are: 

  • To Grow and Reach New Disciples of Jesus Christ; 
  • To Live Out the Conviction that Racism is Incompatible with Christian Teaching; and 
  • To increase the Number of Highly Vital Congregations. 

The ACST met Sept. 28 at First UMC in Lombard to review the goals and move on to the next phase of implementing plans over the next year.

ACST Consultant Helen Chang helped the group review the process so far and focus on moving forward. “This team collectively agreed that these goals are the three things we‘ve said are central to helping define who we are as a church,” said Chang. “Now it’s time to build the details and drill them down into actionable steps.”

The group also welcomed Amania Drane, who joins the Annual Conference Shepherding Team (ACST) as an independent contractor, part-time Project Manager. She will support the Conference’s focus on strategic goals. Working closely with Strategic Team co-chairs, Drane will ensure that projects are moving forward in accordance with plans and timetables, review and disseminate relevant information, and provide support and resources for effective communication.  

Drane has a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., and spent 25 years with State Farm Insurance Companies. Much of her career at State Farm included working with leadership on Talent Management, Change Management, and Employee Engagement. She is a member of Friendship UMC in Bolingbrook. She served as Lay Member to the Annual Conference for a number of years and served on the Conference Committee on Personnel. She has served as the NIC Plumbline Tour Coordinator for the last two years. Drane may be reached via email at


Amania Drane

Co-chairs for the three goals have also been identified and are organizing their committees. The discipleship goal co-chairs are Karen Bonnell and Caleb Hong. The anti-racism goal chairs are Jarrod Severing and Nadia Kanhai. Vital Congregations co-chairs are Brittany Isaac and Dennis Langdon. The co-chairs are meeting with their committees to begin the work of implementation plans, including specific actions, accountability and key indicators of progress/success. 

At the close of the meeting, Chang challenged each member of the ACST to consider what one outcome they would like to see one year from now and one/set of action(s) they will personally take to help reach that outcome. 

The ASCT will be present at the Nov. 16 Special Session and will meet again on Jan. 11, 2020. For updates and news visit,

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