Pastor’s Corner (07/11/19)
Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:4-5
When Regional Minister Rev. Chris Morton visited FCC last year, he described the three expressions of the church; the congregation, the Region and the General Church. Just as the congregation and Region meet regularly, the General Church is called together every two years. So, once again, we gather together as the larger Church. This summer we’ll be meeting in Des Moines, July 20th – 24th. As an introductory video for the Assembly explained; we gather as a national church for four reasons; worship, education, connection and transaction of business. Our theme for the gathering is “Abide in Me” and it comes from the above passage from the Gospel of John. Pastors from all across the denomination will be attending. Each congregation is invited to send lay delegates as well. This is based on size, our congregation has been invited to send two lay delegates in addition to me, as the pastor. D’Arcy Blosser and Tom Mason will be attending as well. I’m looking forward to attending my second Assembly (I’m kind of a General Assembly junkie). It’s also exciting to have the GA so close to home, in Des Moines, Iowa. I’ve lived in Des Moines three different times in my life so I’m looking forward to being back there. I’m also excited about the opportunities for worship, education and connection. I’m also curious to learn what issues will come before the body during our business sessions.
Worship is a central component of the Assembly just as it is for us as a congregation. Worship is done on a much larger scale than what we experience here at FCC. It is an inspiring experience in which we’ll have a chance to hear some amazing preachers, including the Rev. William Barber. It’s also an expression of the diversity of our church. Some of those experiences may make their way back to us here at FCC. Education is also a major part of our gathering. There are dozens of workshops and educational opportunities. There were so many that it was difficult to select just a couple. I am planning to do a two-part workshop entitled “Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Training” and another one called “Disciples History and Polity” (church governance and structure).
But, I have to say, one of my favorite parts of the Assembly is making connections. I’m always amazed at how many people I know. Perhaps my favorite place is the Exhibit Hall. I get to meet people and learn about the various ministries of the Church. Our mealtimes also offer wonderful opportunities for connection. I’m looking forward to attending the dinners for Global Ministries and the Council of Christian Unity. I’m also signed up to attend a couple of events sponsored by Disciples Women. However, we’re not just there for fun. A portion of our time will be spent in the Transaction of Business. This will involve acting on and updating Policies of the Church, receiving reports, electing officers and board members, and acting on Sense of the Assembly Resolutions.
Please keep me, D’Arcy and Tom in prayer as we make our way to the Assembly. I also invite your prayers for all those who will be travelling to, attending, and returning home from Des Moines. I trust that we will bear much fruit as we abide in God and God in us.
With a grateful heart,