Sunday, August 06, 2006

Ruminations from San Diego

Ruminations from the School of Congregational Development

Friday, August 4, 2006

I’m currently attending the School of Congregational Development of the United Methodist Church in San Diego, California. This 6 day gathering of over 600 United Methodists features speakers and workshops designed to help revitalize churches. There is a special series of workshops for District Superintendents. I’m hoping to come back with new ideas to help me be more effective in my ministry with congregations and pastors I serve.

I have no intention to even try to summarize or capture all that is happening. Rather, here are some random thoughts and musings.

First, what good planning, to come to San Diego, where there are gentle breezes and balmy days, just as a serious wave of heat and humidity hit New England.

Last night, during supper we were entertained by Tongan dancers, demonstrating dance styles from many different South Pacific cultures. What a treat and a reminder of the broadness of the UMC. In fact, this entire event reminds me how much larger the United Methodist Church is than our little churches.

Today, in morning worship, we prayed in a way different to me. We sang a simple song, then during singing interludes let projected news clips call us to prayer. It was a powerful way to pray.

What are we so afraid of? Really, what are we so afraid in our churches that we will not take risks, risks to minister in new ways, to try new styles of worship, to try something different. We are so timid. It causes me to pause. Dare I suggest for us all, me included, it is really an issue of faith. I am reminded that when faith is called for in the Bible, when messengers from God arrive on the seen, the message often begins; “Do not be afraid.”

Perhaps we need to hear that for ourselves; Do not be afraid.

From San Diego,


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