From the District Superintendent

Working Collaboratively

Posted 16 April, 2018 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

It had been a long time since I had sat on a molded plastic chair at a school desk. But there I was on the third floor of the historic Wren Building on the campus of the College of William and Mary, seated in a semi-circle panel of alumni in conversation with current Religious Studies majors. The focus of the conversation that March Friday afternoon was around career and networking, guided by such questions to the panel as: "What did you get the most out of from your major?" and "If you could give Religious Studies students any career advice, what would it be?"

Frankly, I was amazed by the similarity of the responses. Sure, maybe I expected the answers from the three Virginia Conference clergy (yes, 3 out of 12 panelists) to sound alike, perhaps even those of the non-UM clergy. But from all the vocations represented (communications, government, business, education, healthcare, journalism) the same descriptions were named again and again.

All the panelists affirmed that majoring in Religious Studies had taught them critical thinking, to be able to analyze information, to communicate clearly and concisely, to work collaboratively and strategically. In all our vocations, across a number of different disciplines, those skills are used daily.

I believe there is a tremendous need for leaders to exercise such skills not only in our work lives but also in our churches and communities. Such skills help us to deeply engage with Scripture and current societal challenges, to hold meaningful conversations with those whose political stand, life experience, or faith expression is different from ours, and to faithfully serve with and for those whose need or privilege or history or status does not mirror our lives, to reflect and act on what following Jesus looks like today

Leading on the Edge our April 28th district event for clergy and laity focused on Poverty and Homelessness, Faith and Mental Health, Religion and Race, and Human Sexuality grew out of holy conversations across several months at our District Common Table. I trust it will be a helpful event for many church leaders. I look forward to seeing you there!




In March, Rev. Overby Webster:

- Worshipped with Bonsack UMC and Goodwin Memorial UMC;  preached at Cave Spring UMC; celebrated Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday at Belview UMC

Participated the Bishop's Strategic Visioning Steering Team Meeting

- Participated in the March appointment-making focused Cabinet Meeting

- Convened the District Board of Missions Annual Meeting

- Attended the Conference Common Table Meeting

- Attended the 5-Talent Academy

- Participated in the March District Committee on Ordained Ministry meeting focused on annual  renewal interviews for Licensed Local Pastors

- Served as an alumni panel member for a presentation for Religious Studies majors at my alma mater, The College of William and Mary

- Conducted Meet Your Pastor Sessions with two Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committees

-Consulted with laity and clergy in person, by phone, and through email