New Mexico Conference of Churches
Candlelight Vigil at Morningside Park 6/28/16
Thus says the LORD:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
Thus says the LORD:
Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the LORD:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy; there is hope for your future,
says the LORD:
your children shall come back to their own country. Jeremiah 31:15-17
From horror, bloodshed, anger, and dismay our voices rise up: this is too much, this is beyond understanding, this pain goes too deep. Help!
We pause in small circles, around meal tables, and in silent sanctuaries; we pray for the victims, for the wounded, for the grieving, for the fearful, for the frightened, for all the brokenhearted. Help!
The news will not stop; each hour increases sadness and sparks rage. We listen; then, turn away. We face ourselves. Old truths tug at our heartstrings. Resolve builds: What must we do?
What we have always done: love mercy, do justice, humbly walk with God.
God of all, bless our lamentations and our steps forward. May we weep with those who weep, guard the vulnerable, and make a smooth path for peace. Help! for this moment is tender, fragile…and without your aid we surely will stumble.
Hear our lamentation. Help! Amen.
Judicatory Heads and their Deputies meet to discuss the next best steps in faith for New Mexico Conference of Churches.
Front Row: Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry; Carolyn Good, Church Women United; Kay Huggins, acting ED for NMCC; Charlotte Hoppe, Lead Minister Mission West Disciples of Christ; Bishop Michael Vono, Diocese of the Rio Grande; Allan Bash Deputy for the Southwest Conference UCC
Back Row: Rob Craig, Deputy for the Presbytery of Santa Fe; Archbishop John Wester, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Bishop Jim Gonia, Rocky Mountain Synod ELCA: Provost Randall Partin, New Mexico Conference UMC; John Williams, President, Rio Grande Mission Center, Community of Christ; J Voorhies, Deputy Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe
On April 14-15, twelve representatives from the thirteen member judicatories of the New Mexico Conference of Churches met at Santa Maria de la Vid, Norbertine Community. The day was designed to provide direction to the Board of NMCC following the conclusion of the ministry of the Reverend Donna McNiel as Executive Director. Acting ED, Kay Huggins, facilitated the day by rehearsing the various shapes, names and programmatic emphases held by this fifty year old statewide relationship of church leaders and denominations. Together the participants probed realities, celebrated opportunities and stretched imagination on the form, practices, commitments and risks involved in expressing the unity of Christ’s body in this place and time. Please hold the Board of the NMCC in your prayers as they receive the encouragement of the Judicatory Heads and their Deputies and open a new chapter in this New Mexico ecumenical story.
The transition at New Mexico Conference of Churches has begun. On April 1st we celebrated the ministry of the Reverend Dr. Donna McNiel, the Executive Director for the past five years. It was a night full of memories, laughter, stories and a few tears. About 40 colleagues arrived in person - and others sent notes of gratitude and good wishes - for the farewell festivities. There is always something special about that last prayer together - both the rich blessings of the relationship and the openness of release.
As Donna departed, I tried to glean the many names, relationships, agencies and institutions that were the weave of her ministry. I will endeavor to continue those connections through my time as Acting Executive Director. While Donna was employed full time, my work is a modest part time assignment. However, because this is a season of discernment, I anticipate that the current Board of Directors, as well as you the circle of NMCC, will be contributing to the development of the Conference.
The judicatory heads will meet for a retreat day focused on the next best steps for the Conference of Churches. Under Donna's leadership, the administration and programmatic side of NMCC became leaner and more agile. We may be exactly correct for the next phase of ministry...or we may need to continue changing. One thing is clear: changes in church life, especially changes in institutional forms, impact the Conference. We must be aware of the callings, conflicts, challenges and capacities of the denominational members. The judicatory heads will help us understand this - as only they are able.
Throughout the next few months, the Board of Directors will sit with deep questions - some old and some new?
What can we do together that we cannot do alone?
Why has this institution sustained over fifty years?
Is God calling NMCC to a new way of being or a new way of serving or both?
What does it mean to connect churches?
What unique gift has the Conference to offer New Mexico?
I encourage you to consider these questions as well. Moreover, if one (or all!) catches your imagination, please send me your thoughts or call to schedule a visit.
I am here, now, as your Acting Executive Director...and I am eager to fulfill that role in a manner that will be helpful to the Conference, the individual denominations, the judicatory heads and to this beloved land of enchantment, New Mexico.
Blessings on you this day... and keep me in your prayers.
Kay E. Huggins
It has been my great honor to serve as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Conference of Churches for the past five years. I have loved building relationships with congregations and clergy in the state. And, I have been honored to represent you in the community. So, it is with mixed feelings that I announce my resignation. I believe it is time for new leadership for the Conference and I am ready for new adventures. I am grateful that the Board of Directors has granted me a six week terminal sabbatical, beginning April 1.
The Board has also put a transition plan into place and will begin a series of conversations about the next phase of NMCC's life. The Rev. Dr. Kay Huggins has agreed to serve as the Acting Executive Director. This is a part-time position, so go easy on her!
I will share more information about my plans as they fall into place. I trust that the friendships that have grown over the past five years will continue and that in God's good time, our paths will cross again. In the meantime, please watch for details about a farewell party on Friday, April 1st.
With immense gratitude,
The New Mexico Conference of Churches is a community of Christians across the state. We work to build relationships across denominational borders in order to live into Jesus' prayer that we all may be one. The fruit of these relationships in Christ is a common mission to respond to those in need and to advocate on issues of importance.
For more than 50 years, the New Mexico Conference of Churches has identified areas of need in the state and has developed programs to meet them. Some of the programs initiated by the Conference include:
- The Storehouse
- Samaritan Counseling Center
- Encino House
- Roadrunner Food Bank
- Habitat for Humanity
- Home Education and Livelihood Program (HELP)
- Gifts of Hope
- Dorothy Turner Health Seminars
- Farmington Meals on Wheels
- Interfaith Power and Light
- Christian Counseling Service of Southern NM
- New Mexico Community Development Loan Fund