On Wednesday noon Rachel and I kept the new appointment with Marco Guete at Der Dutchman. In Atlanta and Gainesville we had heard good things said about him. While we had met him before, neither Rachel nor I had heard the long trek that has brought him to the Southeast as Conference Minister.
Marco has lived in the United States and Columbia. As I recall it, he met Mennonites for the first time in New York City, went to Goshen College, lived in Kansas, and experienced ministry with both the GC and MC churches before their merger into MC-USA.This is a meager account of a journey that prepared Marco to give pastoral care to a multi-cultural conference that the Southeast Conference has become.
About ten years ago the Hispanic, African-American and Haitian churches realized that their churches were in the majority. They also realized that the conference structure no longer met their needs. So they set aside the conference by-laws and created a new, more representative council to draft by-laws that were more responsive to their needs. They also wanted a conference minister who would be bi-lingual. After a diligent search, Marco Guete was recruited and installed.
Marco explained that each of the churches have different expectations of him. Even in such small things as to how he dresses when he attends their meetings. Shall he dress in formal or casual attire? It appears to me that Marco and the pastors are working together to establish their congregations in the Anabaptist faith. They allow each congregation to discover and for the most part allow it to carry out its own mission. It is my conviction that the experience of the Southeast Conference is a harbinger of things to come for the Mennonite Church.
After bidding farewell to Marco, Rachel and I took the long way home. We went to 765 Dean Ave that had been our home in Sarasota for about 20 years. The oak tree in the front yard that was so slender I could reach around it with my two hands is now much larger.
After driving around the home area we drove to the Lido Beach park where we saw racoons and birds. Rachel worked her feet into the powdery sand of Sarasota’s Lido Beach.p