Cal-Nevada Communications Director Jeneane Jones to head east

February 01, 2008

The business of communicating can be as simple a matter as posting items on a message board. It can be dressed up with soundbites and beautiful electronic images and still remain no more than that: the relatively meaningless dissemination of information.


It can also be something more. It can be a window into the human soul – into its capacity to reflect God, its propensity for joy and suffering, even its potential for self-destruction. It can be a mirror that shows us ourselves, through others … and inspires us to strive for greatness.


Greatness in the sight of God.


For communication to be that, rather than merely words and pictures, the communicator must be a special someone. A person with a heart for God and for His people, with an uncommon ability to see a story that needs telling, to draw it forth from those who don’t recognize what nuggets they hold, and to settle that story upon us like a mist that refreshes as it enters our pores.


For nearly seven years, the California-Nevada Annual Conference has been blessed with such a communicator in Jeneane Jones, our Director of Communications. Thus it is with “deep appreciation for [her] outstanding work” that Bishop Beverly Shamana announced Jeneane’s departure to accept a position as Associate General Secretary for Communications for the General Commission on Religion and Race.


“Jeneane has enabled our Conference to grow in embracing our vision, ‘Passion in Jesus Christ – Compassion for All.’ Her creative ability, evident in video reflections on [that] vision, has connected us to each other and those beyond our Conference. Jeneane’s leadership, engaging the use of technology … has linked us together in new ways,” the Bishop said.


“Even though we will miss her leadership in the Conference, I am confident the general church will benefit from her gifts as she brings her God-given talent to the work of the General Commission on Religion and Race based in Washington, D.C.


Jeneane’s last day as a Conference program staff member will be February 8. She is scheduled to begin work in her new position on March 1, 2008.


“I feel like I should be singing the Carol Burnett sign off that begins, I’m so glad we had this time together…seems we just get started and before you know it…” Jones said, a little wistfully, when asked for a comment for this story.


“The time here in Cal-Nevada Conference has been a wonderful adventure,” she went on. “Churches throughout the region have embraced me, and the work I have offered, and I will be indebted to the United Methodist family here.


“I count this all joy, and thank you for letting me write among you, listen to you, and share with you.” 


“I remember the first quote I offered about myself nearly seven years ago – that I wanted to help this Conference share its story. I have enjoyed every moment that has allowed me to hear and share stories from churches like East Salinas Family Center, San Francisco’s Epworth UMC, and Klamath’s Church of the Redwoods.”


Readers of the Conference e-newsletter, Instant Connection, developed by Jones, have read those stories and delegates to Annual Conference Session have been moved by the video versions. In addition, groups outside our Conference have on many occasions called on Jeneane for special projects, such as Stories From the Circle of Life, the story of Native Americans within The United Methodist Church, which she produced this summer for the national organization of United Methodist Women.


But for Jeneane it isn’t only about the story telling – and that, in the end, is the reason for this transition.


“My other passion, along with story telling,” Jones says, “is truth seeking and truth telling. That is why I am very excited about the new roads I will be traveling on.


“I believe that we are living in truly God-directed times. While politicians busily construct the history they want us to remember, as Christians we have reached a time where our voice – one that speaks with clarity, honesty about why we are made in God’s image, as African, Indian, Asian and Anglo, and why we must now treat each other as one – must be heard.


“I look forward to my new job with the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, as Associate General Secretary for Communications and the Black Constituency. My life experiences to date, including my time here as your communicator, have prepared me to keep sharing our stories as people of God, whose gifts as people of rich cultures and commitment to Christ can help all of us live into the vision God has for us.”


And she says, “I hope my work while here has helped this Conference grow towards the goals God has designed for it, and that this community of United Methodists will continue to move ahead, communicating in a way that empowers God’s people to carry out the vision of making disciples for Jesus Christ.”


When Jeneane coined the Communications Office motto, “Our ministry is communicating your ministry,” the words were deliberately chosen. As she moves on to a new mission field, that motto continues to inspire. The work of advancing the kingdom of Christ through communicating the work of His servants will continue here, thanks to her leadership.


And yes, we’re so glad we had this time together, too.