Rev. Goodwin said the main presentation looked at economic growth, job formation and population growth in Connecticut, and part of the conversation was about arts and culture in the state. He noticed, he said, that faith-based voices were missing from that conversation.
"When we think about culture, when we think about economic development and growth, I think it's actually impossible to have that kind of conversation without thinking about the critical impact of the faith-based community in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut," he said. "Today, I showed up as the representative of the churches of the Southern New England Conference in Connecticut. But next year, I want at least 20 other clergy ... that we also might show up at Connecticut Business Day or Massachusetts Business Day or Rhode Island Business Day, so that we start to have a critical presence as the faith-based community. So that we might inspire some of the formative change that's happening around us. Particularly, we have something to say about population growth, about economic development, about job formation, and what does it mean to live in Southern New England."
Rev. Goodwin also talked about the importance of churches influencing bills that are making their way through the Legislature, such as a bill that would require transparency around salaries for particular positions.
"When we think about bills that impact workers who want to strike, when we think about bills that might inform our towns around workforce development and training, the church has to have a critical voice," he said.
Rev. Goodwin also said he heard a lot about the struggle that many economic development programs have in finding space for their ventures.
"People of God, we have space," he said. "We can partner with our local municipalities and maybe make our churches available so that people might be trained so they can be a part of the industries in our three states that need critical workforce development. And my God, maybe if I came and did my workforce development training at your particular Congregational church, and I have been empowered and I'm therefore economically moving forward for my family, then I might also think about maybe I should attend that church on a Sunday, or maybe I might come to a speaker or a workshop or something that's happening."
"It is the ways in which our churches center the community that I think also will inspire church growth," he said. "So, saints and friends, I want you to know my role as Conference Minister is to be in every place that the faithful voice has been absent or maybe it's been a little quiet, and you all know I'm not going to be quiet because I want to make those partnerships. I want to make those connections so that people stop referring to us just as the big church in the center of town, but when they see ... the logo of the Southern New England Conference, they think about over 600 places in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, where they might find hope, they might find transformation, but they will find a critical community partner."