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2012 has been a year of good progress in terms of the objectives of the Elders Service Team for the International Churches of Christ.  We seek to pursue elder appointments, eldership development, conflict resolution and unity among our churches and to strengthen marriage and families in our fellowship!

At the joint meetings of the Evangelist, Teacher and Elder committees in Miami two proposals were presented by the elders for ratification by the ICOC Delegates pertaining to a conflict resolution process and unity within geographic families of churches.  Both passed by a strong majority and will prayerfully provide better guidelines for function in both of these arenas.

The Elders committee was asked to provide leadership for the Married Ministry track at the WDC in San Antonio.  Over 5,000 disciples participated in this portion of the program and seemed to enjoy and benefit from nearly 30 workshops and classes presented by some of our most experienced leaders in this area.  The focus included many areas of marriage and parenting for different ages and stages and effective outreach for and to this predominate demographic in our fellowship.

Currently there are more than 150 elders in over 50 churches with more elders being added on a consistent basis.  Many churches are currently engaged in a training process to appoint elders for the first time with an increasing number being developed internationally.  Our Hong Kong and London churches have both appointed elders in the last 24 months.  Other churches in Europe, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America are also pursuing elder appointments.  Another encouraging development along these lines is the increasing number of elder training retreats among various families of churches.  The Midwest and Southeast families in the US have begun initiatives of this kind that will likely be annual events along with those in the Southwest, Commonwealth, New England and New York family of  churches.

On a sad but inspiring note we lost a dear friend and fellow elder to cancer this year- our dear brother Jeff Balsom.  Jeff served faithfully as an Administrator and full-time elder in the Chicago Church of Christ over many years!  He inspired all of us with his spirit of faith, gratitude and contentment at God’s timing for his departure to heaven.  None among us has demonstrated a greater heart of discipleship, leadership and joyful service than Jeff!  Our prayers and love continue with his wife Roberta and his family who carry on without him.

We are excited about the addition of Dan Liu from the Hong Kong Church of Christ to our committee who along with Israel Ereola of the Lagos Church of Christ represent an increasing international presence.  We anticipate adding more international participants this year as God raises up those who can join our number.  We praise God for his blessings in 2012 and joyfully anticipate his guidance in the New Year!  Our current committee members and sub-committee chairs are as follows:

Al Baird, Los Angeles – Elder Appointment,

Sam Laing, South Florida– Marriage and Family,

Wyndham Shaw, Boston – Eldership development,

Walter Evans, Philadelphia – Conflict Resolution,

John Brush, South Florida  – Maintaining Unity,

Gloria Baird, LA and Jeanie Shaw, Boston – Elders’ wives,

Committee Members: Larry Craig, New York, NY; Israel Ereola, Lagos; Frank Kim, Denver; Ron Brumley, Seattle; Bill Hooper, Dallas; Dan Liu, Hong Kong