STATEMENT OF CALL TO BE A REGIONAL ELDER

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					          STATEMENT OF CALL TO BE A REGIONAL ELDER
                                   Darlene C. Garner

I believe that the measure of joy one experiences in ministry is an affirmation of call.
When I was first elected to the position of Elder in 1993, I was serving as the Pastor of
MCC of Northern Virginia (USA). Prior to election, the people of that congregation had
often told me, “Your ministry is larger than here or than any one church.” I did not know
how to respond to them. I loved being a pastor. It was what my life had prepared me to
do; it was my passion and brought me great joy. I had expected to continue serving that
congregation for the rest of my life. Yet it seemed very clear to those who I served that
God apparently had another plan for me. Then General Conference elected me to serve
all of MCC in the role of Elder.

My joy has continued to increase as opportunities to be of service have expanded. I still
experience no greater joy than when working directly with the people and leaders of our
local churches as a partner in ministry. Sometimes the nature of the work has been to
offer a ministry of presence, being compassionately present with people, listening to their
joys and concerns and learning about their lives. At other times, my work has been
teacher, preacher, and prophet. I have also been blessed to be in ongoing mentoring
relationships with various individual leaders and in relationship as consultant with
churches over a long period of time.

Service as an Elder has also afforded me the opportunity to travel broadly. I have spent
time with our churches and church leaders across the US and Canada, and in Australia,
the Dominican Republic, England, Germany, and South Africa. Since being first elected
to serve Region 6 in 2002, I have also traveled to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica,
Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Uruguay. No matter how often I travel, I still return
home after each trip expressing gratitude to God for allowing me the opportunity to
experience so much and to meet and to minister amongst such wonderful and diverse
people.

When the Board of Elders first began envisioning how UFMCC could more effectively
serve our local churches and support our local leaders, my focus was exclusively on
helping to create that vision. Like the other Elders at the time, I had no idea about what
my own role in the new structure might be. There were moments, of course, when the
possibility of serving as a Regional Elder crossed my mind. Yet even at those times, I
wondered whether such thoughts were actually a discernment of call or merely a nervous
reaction to the fact that all of us were “working ourselves out of our jobs” by virtue of the
recommendation that the position of Elder as it had been known be dissolved. All I knew
for certain was that the form of my next ministry would be revealed to me…in time.

It did not take long. As soon as the Elders’ proposal became a public document in 2000,
people started either telling me that I would/could/should be a Regional Elder or actually
asking me to consider the possibility of applying for the position in their regions. Yet I
was not sure that God was calling me to do so. Rather than tell them “yes” or “no,” I told
them that I would I keep praying and waiting until I could see what God would reveal.

Statement of Call                                                                  Page 1 of 2
Darlene C. Garner
In November 2002, the waiting had come to an end. The voting delegates at the first
Regional Conference for Region 6 elected me to serve among them as the Regional
Elder. Early in 2004, the Board of Elders requested that I support their ministry among
the churches and groups in South America. Later that year, I moved from the U.S. to live
in Latin America, choosing Mexico as my home base. Then God expanded the territory
of Region 6 in 2005, adding to the region all of southern California, the U.S. state of
Nevada, as well as all of the nations of South America.

I love what I do! The work continues to be challenging and my joy continues to grow.
God has been preparing me and continues to call me now to the challenges and blessings
of ministry in the particular multi-cultural, international environment of Region 6. As I
first believed when I submitted application in 2002, I continue to affirm:

                         I am called to gather and spread the vision…
                          I am called to empower and to encourage…
                           I am called to comfort and to challenge…
                               I am called to learn and to teach…
                            I am called to preach and to prophesy…
                    I am called to be in partnership and mutual ministry…
                       I am called to be the Elder that serves Region 6.




Statement of Call                                                               Page 2 of 2
Darlene C. Garner

				
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