June 28, 2008

The Glory of Gatherings

Posted in Highlights at 11:30 am by elcic2

Eric Dyck just thanked the organizing “working group” for the conference – underscoring that it really was a working group, with everybody on it working very hard in their various responsibilities to fashion the orderly functioning of the gathering.

But beyond the order of agenda, speakers, workshops and worship is the fabulous chaos of relationships. It’s the sort of place where I meet friends from across the country, both Anglican and Lutheran – and even a UCC national staff person – and, most importantly, meet new friends. And that’s the stuff, the relationship building stuff, that is the glory of these gatherings. I’ve met and learned from Lutherans who are working in inner city missions and an Anglican “emergent church” mover and shaker, creative young people from both churches with the sort of passion that gives me hope for the future of our churches.

Karen Ward spoke this morning about the beginning of the Church of the Apostles in Seattle, how her vision grew out of the natural relationships that were the place that gave her life when she was working at the national office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – her pub friends, most if not all of whom were non-church people. But the relationships were real, friendships real, and in the reality of being in true friendship meant that naturally her faith was shared, and in ways that grew faith in others. No “missional programme” from any national office grows this.

But they could support it, by sharing stories, the real stories of ministry and mission. Like Karen this morning talking about the Church of the Apostles’ initiative where they held a ‘living room’ in a street store front, with comfy couches and tea and music and poetry and good food. Where they discovered that some of the regulars were homeless and needed from time to time to borrow a few bucks, and where they engage the big questions about God, self, community and world. A place where the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is talked about in the big, ‘so what’, questions about the purpose of life, what helps you get out of bed in the morning? What journey are you on, and who’s with you on that journey?

More later…

Eileen Scully

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