Oct. 19, 2021
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I write today to share some bittersweet news. After more than three decades of service in two conferences, Rev. John Blackadar will step down as Annual Conference Secretary at the end of this month.
I know that I speak for many of us when I say how much I respect and admire John Blackadar. I am deeply grateful to John for his faithful service and tireless work on behalf of our Annual Conference. John’s institutional knowledge and calm presence have been invaluable to me as presider and to our members as we sought to engage in holy conferencing and do God’s work on behalf of our Annual Conference.
While we will miss John’s skilled leadership, I understand his desire to spend more time with his family and to pass the torch. As John said:
“I learned a long time ago, back when I was learning how to fly an airplane, and my instructor said, John, it's a lot better to be down here on the ground wishing you were up there flying, than to be up there flying, wishing you were on the ground.”
John began his service as secretary in the former New Hampshire Conference in 1976 and continued until 2005, when he became a district superintendent. In late 2015, Conference Secretary Ralph Oduor left the position, and I asked John to, once again, be our Conference Secretary.
Now it is time for someone new to take up this important work.
Following the process outlined in the Book of Discipline ¶603.7, I am appointing Preeti Pabreja, a lay member of the United Methodist Church of Westford, MA, to serve as Conference Secretary beginning Nov. 1, 2021.
I am very proud that this appointment will extend the table and make our Annual Conference leadership more inclusive. Preeti will be the first Asian woman to serve as Conference Secretary in New England.
Observing Preeti’s ministry, I can see, very clearly, her passion for justice and her deep love for the church. Thoroughness and attention to detail are among her many gifts, and I am so pleased that she has agreed to accept the role of Conference Secretary.
Preeti has served in several leadership roles in worship, missions, nominations, education and with youth groups since joining Westford UMC in 2000. She also serves as a member of the NEAC Connectional Table.
She is a software engineer and currently an area vice president, engineering, at CareCentrix. Preeti and her husband, Joe Wesley, have one adult son.
“I am very honored to be given the opportunity to serve as the Secretary of the New England Annual Conference. Rev. Blackadar leaves very big shoes to fill, and I am humbled to walk in his footsteps,” Preeti said. “The most exciting aspect is the ability to serve at this level. Giving back is definitely a big part of what both Joe and I believe in, and this is yet another form of serving the community … providing them a forum where they are able to talk through what’s most important to them.”
I hope that you will welcome Preeti and support her as she takes on a role that is so important in the life of our Conference.
I am so thankful to both John and Preeti for their willingness to serve our Church; I ask that you join me in praying for them and their families, and for our 2022 Annual Conference.
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar