On behalf on the ACM Search Committee, I am thrilled to announce that we have discerned that the Rev. Kimberly (Kim) Wood be called as an Acting Associate Conference Minister for the Illinois Conference. She will be assigned to the Eastern & Western Associations. She will resource parts of the Western Association. The Western Association will be covered by both Rev. Kathy Lawes and Kim. We may also change which ACM covers what parts of the Western Association. This is all in discussion so stay tuned as we live into this.
Likewise, please do not assume that Kim will do what the Rev. Tom Norwalk did or in the way that he did it. She is extremely gifted and creative in her own way. I ask that we embrace her and the gifts and graces she brings to the table.
Some of you have recalled with me that prior to Tom arriving the word on the street was that “NO ONE” would be able to do what that individual did. Then, after getting to know Tom, it became clear that he was special in his own way. He brought himself and his ability to connect with others. Now, I hear the same thing, “I don’t know what you’re going to do without Tom? NO One will be able to replace him. That is True because no one can be Tom. They can only be who they are and bring the gifts and graces they possess. That is why I fully expect Kim to be Kim and to not try to imitate Tom.
Tom is amazing and special. I’ve been honored to get to know him over these last five (5) months. He is a gift the Illinois Conference. He has served above and beyond the call of duty. I honor him and am grateful that he’s been with us but he’s earned his next Viking Cruise and we must bless him in the next phase of the journey.
And Kim is wonderfully gifted and will bless you in her own unique way. I’ve worked very close to Kim, Council President, and I have found her to be amazingly gifted. She’s going to be wonderful as part of the associations and conference teams.
She is not Tom, I trust that you will be kind, graceful and champion her as she grows into this new ministry. You will fall in love with her as you did with Tom. When you disagree, I ask that you take a step back and breathe. Let her lead. Give her the grace to simply be herself as she lives into mutual ministry with you. Rather than expecting her to do it, “the way we’ve always done it,” dare to risk to do things differently. She may surprise you. I also expect that you’ll love her as you get to know her.
She is a gift to your associations and the new Conference Team that we are developing that will consult with you as we live into God’s intended desire for the Illinois Conference. We, the conference, are committed to listening more, talking less and creating intentional relationships of mutuality and respect.
I am honored to serve among you,
Rev. Justo González, II
Interim Conference Minister
Ministro de la Conferencia Interino