By Paul Bowman, Holston Foundation president

Lately, disaffiliation has been the buzzword for many of our churches throughout the Holston Conference as members prayerfully deliberate and some vote on their church’s future. It is a historical time as many churches decide to chart a new path toward a future to which they believe God is calling them. The Holston Foundation is pleased to work with all, regardless of what decision the church makes.

Recently, I had a day that reminded me of the United Methodist “Connection” that endures despite trial and tribulation. At a meeting with financial aid staff at Emory & Henry College discussing how the Holston Foundation provides scholarships for UMC students, I ran into one of our scholarship recipients who is thriving in his experience at the college. He is from Mexico, and we were connected to him through Rev. Jane Taylor, Clinch Mountain District Superintendent. We had a great conversation about his opportunities as a Holston Foundation scholarship recipient and his experience as an intern at the college and a local church. (Apply for Holston Foundation scholarships here.)

At the same time, I also ran into Rev. Harry Howe of Project Crossroads, whom the Holston Foundation has had the opportunity to support financially over the years for their life-changing work in Marion, VA, and surrounding communities. It is always affirming and a reminder of the “Connection” to chat with those in the ministry of their work in their communities.

Days like those are an amazing reminder of how connected Methodists are in all these examples—higher education, local ministry, relationships that go back for years, and beyond. Being a small part of those connections and seeing them in person was a fun day.

The Holston Foundation will continue to work with both churches that remain part of and those that disaffiliate from the Holston Annual Conference. It is in our DNA as an organization to support, encourage, and fund those who encourage generosity, in spirit and truth, in the communities God has called them to serve. I hope those who choose to be independent local churches or those who choose to join the Global Methodist Church continue to find the connections that support ministry. In whatever way we can, the Holston Foundation is here for your ministry, no matter what the future looks like for your church.