As the “construction” of the Michigan Conference nears completion, Rev. Benton Heisler thanks all for their patience.
REV. BENTON HEISLER
Director of Connectional Ministry, Michigan Conference
Traveling the roads of Michigan this time of year means a nearly constant encounter with “Construction Zones.” Any direction I travel on the freeway that is just a mile from our parsonage and each secondary street and road that leads to my office in Lansing and the Conference Center West Office in Grand Rapids, requires the navigation of a construction zone.
It means slower speeds, delays, detours and at times simply “you can’t get there from here.” At times the areas seem to be bustling with equipment, construction workers, dust in the air and smell of hot asphalt chokes your breath or the reflection of the sun off the new concrete blinds yours eyes. In other moments, you wonder “Where is everybody? Why isn’t this done. Or, why are all those persons in hardhats just standing around looking down a hole at one worker with a shovel?”
All of this is a metaphor for me of our beginnings as a new Michigan Conference. Most construction zones allow you a redirected path to move through the same area, essentially allowing us to “drive on the road as it is being built.” So too it is with our Michigan Conference. We have been in a construction zone the past few years. Remarkable efforts of dreaming, design, remodeling, building, etc. have all been underway. Many sections of our “path” have been completed and a few components still require the finishing touches.
Thank you for your patience!
We have all worked diligently to imagine and address any number of contingencies and alternatives that have been necessary for our journey. The installation of a Comcast internet line to our offices took seven months to accomplish, not the six weeks initially quoted to us! Cell phones and wireless connections have allowed us to “drive as the road was being built” but not at the pace to which we as staff or perhaps you as our “customers” had been accustomed.
This week as part of our planned transition, all the phone extensions across the state have new extension numbers. That all went reasonably well…. until the failure of the ATT line that feeds the primary switching server. So… for a while, new phones for some, new extensions for all… but in a number of cases you can’t access your messages or use the equipment to call out or receive calls, or access the internet.
During the end of this week, the Conferences’ web pages go “down” and next week the “new and improved” web site goes live! What could possible go wrong with that change, right?!! We trust it will all go well, but if by chance something you really need to know doesn’t seem to be accessible, send us an email or give us a call and we’ll do our best to help locate the information you need.
Thank you for your patience!
At one time or another this summer, your conference staff, like you I trust, will be taking some time for rest and renewal. Like all the big equipment in those construction zones, each of us needs a moment to cool down a bit, refuel, repair, renew, and tune-up before pressing on.
The writer of Philippians put it this way, “He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.” (1:6)
I look forward to the road ahead for each of us as the new Michigan Conference is seen to its completion by the grace of God.
~“If you make my Word your home, you will indeed be my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:13 New Jerusalem Bible.)” Each article I write for this column is based in the guidance of a Scripture passage. I pray that these reflections, stories and information will assist you in your own witness and service as a Disciple of Jesus Christ.