CCSW News: Trinity-Brazos Area Calls Area Ministers
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New Leadership Called for Trinity-Brazos Area

Greetings! On Saturday, February 13, the TBA Board unanimously approved the recommendations from the Search Committee for our new Area Ministers. The Search Committee was impressed with the many excellent candidates who interviewed for both positions, but ultimately felt that God led them to these particular individuals. We are pleased to announce that Rev. Christy Drechsel has been called as the Minister of Nurture, and Rev. Alicia Harker has been called as the Minister of Connection. Both will begin their ministries in the TBA on March 15. Below, you can read more about Christy and Alicia. But first, there are some highlights about this new model of Area ministry that the TBA leadership wants to communicate clearly. 

Since we're entering a new and exciting era of ministry in the Trinity-Brazos Area, we'll be working hard to communicate well and often. Part of that will include consistently conveying new ways of being church together. Over the last four to five years, there was only one year in which we had a full-time TBA Area Minister; the rest of the time, we were between Area Ministers or had a half-time Area Minister. We considered calling another half-time Area Minister, but discerned that such a model isn't what is healthiest for the minister or for the Area. 

The TBA leadership wants a vibrant, connected area with staff who feel supported and not always on the edge of burnout. These desires led us to this new approach:two equally-yoked part-time ministers who oversee different portfolios and collaborate together. Here are the job descriptions for each position:

Minister of Connection -- Rev. Alicia Harker
Alicia will connect congregations and clergy across the TBA with each other to strengthen our sense of community. This is more of a "macro" ministry -- seeing the big picture of ministry in the TBA as carried out by local congregations, collaborative efforts, and constituency groups. She will administrate Search and Call; fulfill the administrative office with special focus on communication; work with the Area Committee on Ministry in identifying new ministerial candidates; and participate in area constituency groups

Minister of Nurture -- Rev. Christy Drechsel
Christy will nurture individuals into and through the fulfillment of their vocation, providing pastoral care and counsel. This is more of a "micro" ministry -- meeting the particular needs of persons, groups, and congregations in the TBA with appropriate and specific programming. She will attend to youth camp and conference ministry, collaborating with the Youth and Children's Ministry Network, Disciples Crossing, and the Tri-Area Board; plan worship and retreat opportunities for adult groups; communicate with area shepherds to keep apprised of congregational and clergy needs; and provide conflict resolution assistance and training.

Together, Alicia and Christy will provide special events depending on identified needs (like professional development, elder training, spiritual retreats, etc.); report to the TBA Board, Administrative Council, and Executive Committee; be involved with the Regional Area Minister Team; and work with congregations that desire future visioning for discovery of new possibilities. 

Having two part-time area ministers means that some things are going to change. For this new model to work well, it is essential that we all begin to shift our expectations of what Area Ministers do, where they are, and how they function. Here are some of the most important pieces to keep in mind:
  • We will have staff dedicated to carrying out key aspects of Area ministry. We will get programs off the ground through collaborative work and efficient oversight. We're excited about the possibilities! 
  • Our Area Ministers will maintain healthy boundaries. They can't be everything to everyone. Their part-time status is intentional. For one thing, we couldn't afford full-time Area staff. But also, we want them to focus on collaboration with lay and clergy leaders -- enhancing connections and increasing involvement by delegating and facilitating ministries.
  • Programming will happen in places all over the Area, and not just in the Fort Worth/Tarrant County area. While the Area Ministers will plan and help coordinate these programs, they may not attend each session. 
  • Area Ministers will focus on high-quality interactions rather than on a certain quota of visits/facetime at every Area or congregational event. Relationships and presence are still incredibly important! However, as they help connect TBA congregations, more people can and will represent the TBA to one another. 
  • They will be employing technology in some helpful ways, bridging the geographical distances and making the most of everyone's time. 

Especially in this early phase of our transition, it may be confusing to know who to contact when you or your congregation needs to reach out for any reason. So, when you have a question to ask, a need to be met, an idea to share, or a hand to help, you can call (817) 831-4442 or e-mail ( the TBA office. Emily Posey, our wonderful office manager, will direct you to the Area Minister who is best suited to address your situation. 

Remember -- we're in this together. Please help communicate these shifts to your congregations. Please pray for Christy and Alicia, for the TBA volunteer leadership, and for the Trinity-Brazos Area as a whole. God is doing a new thing here! Ministries will open up, relationships will strengthen, friendships will begin, and mission will be clarified and carried out. Let's see where the Spirit takes us together. 

Rev. Megan Ammann Peglar, TBA Moderator 
Rev. Alicia Harker was born in Fort Worth, but only spent about 11 days of her childhood there as she was soon adopted through the Edna Gladney Center and whisked away to the beautiful Hill Country town of San Saba, Texas. Her early faith life was shaped by nurture and spiritual development in the United Methodist Church, with active participation in ecumenical youth groups.
She returned to Fort Worth after high school graduation to play flute and study Christian Education at Texas Wesleyan University. During the months before graduation from Texas Wesleyan, Rev. Dr. Stan Hagadone recruited her away from her original plan (to attend Perkins School of Theology) and over to TCU and the west side of Fort Worth. Less than a year into studies at Brite Divinity School, Alicia fell in love with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) well as a fellow student and the two were later married.  In addition to her Master of Divinity from Brite, Alicia also has a Master of Arts in Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in the State of Texas.   

She has served congregations in both the UMC and the CC(DoC) in places such as Fort Worth, Benbrook, Weatherford, Carrollton, Van Alstyne, Odessa and Richardson, and has served as a counselor in university based, parish based and private counseling practices. She has served as a chaplain in several hospitals and currently works as a chaplain at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  Her particular professional passions include mentoring and nurturing those discerning a call to ministry, partnering with colleagues to find joy in their calling, and working with interdisciplinary health care professionals as they learn to include personal spiritual reflection as a part of professional practice.

Alicia shares life and ministry with Rev. Joseph Harker, Sr. Minister at United Disciples Christian Church in Richardson, Texas, and they have three amazing kiddos, Jonathan (13), Sarah (9), and Matthew (6) who have grown up serving in ministry alongside mom and dad. She spends much of her non-professional time as a part time home school teacher for her kids who attend a University Model School and in the role of taxi driver and cheerleader for the kids' activities. She enjoys writing icons in retreat setting, an occasional Netflix binge, family game nights, travel, camping, provided her husband and Cub/Boy Scouts do most of the work, and longs to use a previously reserved URL and begin blogging.
Alicia celebrates the creation of this ministry learning laboratory which embraces innovation in this new approach to shared middle judicatory leadership. She is excited about joining the ongoing ministry of the area as the Trinity-Brazos Area Minister of Connection, partnering with Rev. Christy Dreschel, the Trinity-Brazos Area Minister of Nurture.
Rev. Christy Drechsel was born in San Diego, California, but moved to Texas when she was 2. Since all of her childhood memories are of her time growing up in Alvin, Texas, she considers herself a Texan. Christy moved to Fort Worth 20 years ago and has called North Texas home every since. She graduated from Brite Divinity School in May of 2012 and was ordained the following August.  Prior to her studies at Brite, she received a Master of Science in Human Resources and Training with an emphasis in Conflict Management and a Bachelor of Science from Texas Christian University in Speech Communications. 
Like many ministers, Christy ran from her call for quite a while. In that time, she managed a hotel and sold tile. What she didn't realize is that while she thought she was running from her call, God was in control, walking her toward a better understanding of that call. All of the experiences in those years has informed who Christy is as a minister today.

Christy has served First Christian Church of Fort Worth in various roles since 2009. As Associate Minister there, she has the privilege of not only serving the congregation, but also those who come to the Community Eye Clinic which is housed in the church and serves the under-served in our community. When she is not spending her hours at the church, she is enjoying quality time on a lake somewhere in North Texas with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Avery. And of course, she doesn't miss a TCU Football game. Go Frogs!

Christy's understanding of church came from watching her mother lead at First Christian Church of Alvin and the MANY church camps she attended. Creating space for youth to experience God is what has called Christy to return year after year to camp. Her hope is to create those same spaces for the congregations of the Trinity-Brazos Area. She is excited for this new model of collaborative ministry and the many opportunities it will provide the Trinity-Brazos Area.
Regional Minister & President Search Committee Named

Your Regional Council is pleased to announce the Search and Call Committee for our next Regional Minister & President: Jeff Billings (chair), Sue Cobb, Dottie Cook, Olin Fregia, Evangelina Perez, Arthur Stewart, Hector Velasquez, Bob Williams and Tasha York. This group includes 5 clergy and 4 laity; 5 men and 4 women; 5 Caucasian, 2 African American and 2 Hispanic members. (Tasha York's name was accidentally omitted in the first announcement of this committee. Demographic information is updated to include her information.)

Please keep these individuals and our whole church in your daily prayers. Once the committee has met, there will be further information provided to keep everyone informed of their progress. 

Congregational Year Book Reports Due March 15
(But sooner would be greatly appreciated!)

Thanks to the 90 congregations who have submitted their Year Book reports, or, have started them, at least! (Link to list is on the home page of Region website if you want to see if your congregation has already reported!) Year Book Reports from congregations covering calendar year 2015 are due by March 15, covering a few details about membership and finances. This will make sure that your congregation is included in the 2016 Year Book & Directory of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that is filed with the IRS each year to list those congregations that are covered under the group exemption of the denomination. Your church office should have received a post card recently with your congregation's PIN and Serial Number so that you can report online by going to and clicking on the link in the middle of the page for "Congregational Reporting Login." You may save the information you have entered, and return to the form later to complete it, if you need to find other information. 

Sample forms in
English and Spanish, as well as instructions, are available at in the third section of the page. Contact Bonnie Schuler in the Southwest Region office at 817-926-4687 or for 1) your congregation's PIN and Serial Number if the postcard didn't make it yet to the person who needs it, 2) a paper copy of the form mailed to you, or 3) assistance in completing the form (helps to have your year-end financial information and tally of membership and attendance information). 

Want help? Call in your report to the Southwest Region at 817-926-4687 on Wednesdays in February and early March between 10 am and 2 pm Central time, and a volunteer will enter your report online for you. Provide an email address, and you'll get a copy of the report to proof and save for your files.

FYI, if you have the CD version of last year's Year Book, you can print out or save a PDF of the 10-year history of your reporting and giving to Disciples Mission Fund. Saves going through paper files to find all those reports! (Call or email the Regional Office if you'd like a PDF or hard copy of your congregation's stats sent to you.)
Ministerial Standing
Ministers who intend to renew their standing should complete the 2016 Request for Standing Form now, if you haven't done so since November. Do this online (preferred) or by printing a PDF and sending that in to the Southwest Region office by email as a PDF at or by U.S. mail as a paper copy to the address listed below. If you need a paper copy mailed to you or need assistance, call Bonnie Schuler at 817-926-4687. 

We now have posted
at PDFs of the Request for Standing Form and CCSW Clergy Sexual Misconduct Policy in both English and Spanish. The website also has links to "Theological Foundations and Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)" in four languages. 

We do ask that both ordained and commissioned ministers complete the Request for Standing Form so that we have your current information. Commissioned Ministers will still receive their standing card following their interview with the Area Committee on Ministry, and may have specific paperwork to complete for that process with their Area. 

Anytime during the year that you have contact information to update, notify the Southwest Region office or complete the online form on the Information and Links page of the Region's website; this begins like the Request for Standing Form so that we can be sure that we have all of your current information. 
Healthy Boundaries Trainings

This past Monday, 79 participated in the Healthy Boundaries Training at University Christian Church in Fort Worth before the official start of Ministers Week.

We will post further training opportunities on the Regional website calendar so check there for updates. Currently, we have another training scheduled Saturday, April 16, at 9:30 am at Rolling Oaks Christian Church in San Antonio (registration online available now) and at First Christian Church in Lubbock (registration online at Contact the Regional Office at or 817-926-4687 for further information.  
Association of Disciple Musicians Conference
“Weave Us Together”
University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana
July 17-24, 2016

This is the 55th consecutive ADM conference and it has met in numerous locations throughout the years. It is for clergy, choir directors, handbell ringers, anyone who loves church music. There is daily worship filled with music, handbell classes, chapel choir, ADM chorus, organ classes and many other options.
For more information go to

To register online, go to Disciples Home Missions, click on DHM Ministries,  click on Association of Disciple Musicians

For more information, contact Alice Chaney
Mediation Skills Training Institute
for Church Leaders
March 7-11, 2016
King of Glory Lutheran Church
6411 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX
Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (MSTI) provides 32 hours of training, which is useful for judicatory leaders, clergy, pastors in transitional/interim ministry and lay leaders - anyone who works with people!  This event serves as a continuing education opportunity, as well as for honing mediation and conflict transformation skills.
Register before February 19, 2016, and save $100.
Click here for a brochure with further information and registration form.
Prefer to register online?  Click here.
DHM Summer Mission Internships
What will you do this summer? If you’re looking for a way to make a difference and have an incredible experience — and get paid for it — you probably want to apply for a DHM summer mission internship. You’ll spend a summer in a foreign location, like Louisville, Michigan, Texas, Washington, California, Missouri, and you’ll work on issues that you may not have seen up close before — like poverty, racism, water, immigration, housing. Then, you’ll go back to school or into the work world smarter and better prepared to live your faith in a complex world.  If you’ll be 20 by Memorial Day, check out the
flyer and let us hear from you. Deadline is February 18.
For more information click

Rev. Dr. Deborah Conrad, Pastor
Woodside Church
1509 E Court Street
Flint MI  48503
810-767-4911 (office)
502-550-1236 (mobile)

Southwest Region: Save the Date!

February 18 (Thurs) - Documentation deadline for candidates wishing to be considered for an April interview with Regional Committee on Ministry

February 26-27 (Fri-Sat) - Disciples Women's Ministries Leadership Event "Dare to Lead!" at Round Rock Christian Church

April 16 (Sat) - Healthy Boundaries for Clergy, Rolling Oaks Christian Church in San Antonio

April 18-20 (Mon-Wed) - Regional Committee on Ministry at University Christian Church in Fort Worth

April 20-21 (Wed-Thurs) - Area Committee on Ministry Chairs' Meeting at University Christian Church in Fort Worth

May 1 (Sun) - North Texas Area Assembly at 3 pm at East Dallas Christian Church with Rev. Virzola Law, guest speaker

May 15 (Sun) - Trinity-Brazos Area Assembly

May 21 (Sat) - Healthy Boundaries for Clergy, First Christian Church in Lubbock (register online at

July 8-10 (Fri-Sun) - DOC Disciples Men Sessions 2016 at TCU (event occurs every four years)

July 19 (Tuesday) - Documentation deadline for candidates wishing to be considered for a September interview with Regional Committee on Ministry 

July 24 (Sun) - Regional Youth Ministry Council (RYMC) at Disciple Oaks Camp and Retreat in Gonzales

July 25-30 (Mon-Sat) - Christian Youth Leadership Seminar (CYLS) at Disciple Oaks Camp and Retreat in Gonzales

August 26 (Friday) - Healthy Boundaries for Clergy, Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth

September 16-18 (Fri-Sun) - Disciples Men Retreat at Lake Brownwood

September 19-21 (Mon-Wed) - Regional Committee on Ministry at University Christian Church in Fort Worth

October 14-16 (Fri-Sun) - Bluebonnet Disciples Women's Ministry Retreat at Disciple Oaks Camp and Retreat in Gonzales

Oct 21-22 (Fri-Sat) - Financial Literacy Education Event at University Christian Church in Fort Worth

October 29-30 (Sat-Sun) - Regional Assembly at Northway Christian Church in Dallas

November 23 (Wed) -  Documentation deadline for candidates wishing to be considered for a January interview with Regional Committee on Ministry
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