|Morning Traffic leaving Portland|
|Our hotel is LITERALLY across the street from the Convention center|
The theme this year is “Walking Toward Oneness” based on Ephesians 4:11-13. The opening two large group sessions were led by Rev. Jack Preus. In each of the two hour session he presented on unity vs. diversity and whether one is good or bad and how as church workers we can embrace diversity without losing the unity of ONE theology, that is the Word of God. The presentation was good. After presenting he opened the floor for questions and comments and I must admit it got a little long as the pastors got into deep debate. Perhaps it’s because I’m young and see things in a different light but some of the questions posed were not as complicated (to me at least) as they made them out to be.
After the large group sessions we had a break for dinner. Jamie, Gretchen and I went to a quaint little place called McKeown’s. Three pastors also accompanied us. Pastor Brad (Seattle, WA), Pastor Mark ( Bremerton, Wa), and Pastor Matthew (Des Moines, Washington). It was great to converse with them. They are all young pastors within five years of just finishing seminary. It was great to talk with them about everything from the future of the LCMS, to the new generation, to sports.
|Out to Dinner|
|Tracy and I|
Taize this evening was exactly what I needed. I shall now delve into the deep life of an intern. Being an intern sometimes the wellness wheel is not always in balance. What I mean by that is that as a spiritual leader, sometimes one lacks being spiritually fed. Although I do not hold a Pastor position there are very few worship services where I can actually be present in front of God. Often times its thinking about what song I'm leading next, or if the Children's church volunteers have all their supplies, or what I'm teaching after the service for high school.
Taize this evening was FANTASTIC. I got to simply BE. Maybe it was the channeling energy of the service setting back at CSP, or perhaps being surrounded by hundreds of church workers, but it was overpowering.
Taize began with silence, something that many of us lack. I think that we are afraid of silence, but tonight, together as a NW district we got to EMBRACE the silence. Then altogether we silently read Psalm 78:1-6...
My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
After that people called out a word or phrase the stuck out to them. It was neat to hear what was chosen. We then went into a time of confession by singing a South African Folk song "Senze nínah" which means "What have we done" God really was working through those around me mainly Gretchen who tonight God used to enhance the worship experience through simply her singing next to me.
After that we went into prayer where we sang Kyrie Eleison after each petition. At one point the worship leader opened a time for people to speak out loud a name, or word (not a full, flashy prayer) but a simple word, as God knows what is on our heart. This was overpowering! Some people whispered names or words while others spoke more loud, but the room was filled with petitions prayer, and it led me to goosbumps. I cannot describe it but it was overpowering.
Worship ended in speaking together the Lord's Prayer. Something about so many clergy workers in one room, with one prayer, is amazing! I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.
After worship all NW District workers were invited for an evening of fellowship. I got to meet so many pastors both within Alaska and outside, and also got to continue conversing with some DCE's I met earlier as they gave me words of wisdom and encouragement. All in all it was an extremely good second day at the NW District All workers conference. I can't wait for tomorrow.