We have several things coming up in the months ahead. There will be opportunities for fellowship, for worship, and for growth in our faith. Please take part in all that you can.
The first event is the Regional Cluster meeting, to be held on Thursday, October 30th from 6:30-8:00. This event is an opportunity for our Cluster group to meet together, not as just clergy, but as anyone who wishes to come. We are the host. There will be a meal, so having to fix dinner isn’t a valid excuse. During the gathering, we will meet and hear from Rev. Denise Bell, our Regional Minister and from the rest of the Regional Ministry team. This team includes Pam Van Dusen, the administrative assistant; Stephen Westbrook and Katie Gibson, co-directors of YAC (Youth Activities Council); Terressa Anderson, director of the camping program; Rev. Allen Rogers, director of New Church Development; and Rev. Betty Brewer-Calvert, director of Women’s ministries. The congregations who are part of our cluster are Columbus, Central Christian, Griffin First, Damascus, Macon First, St. Andrew, Newnan, Liberty, and Williamson.
This is an excellent opportunity to see the church beyond just Warner Robins or Macon. It is an opportunity to build connections similar to what the Disciple Women have developed through their retreats and spring gatherings. We are not a single congregation sitting in the middle of Georgia. We are part of a Regional Church that goes from Rome and Cherry Log to Valdosta and Waycross. Ask some of the youth who attend Camp or the Youth Retreat at Epworth where some of their friends live and they will name places all over the state. We have congregations that worship in English, Zo, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish.
Please reserve October 30th on your calendar for an evening of fun, fellowship and learning. Let us gather around the table as the Christian Church in Georgia.
On Sunday, October 5th, we will celebrate World Communion Sunday. The focus of the service will be the Lord’s Table, as it always is, but today we focus upon Communion around the world. We will recognize that Communion is celebrated throughout all the world.
On Sunday, October 19th, we will mark the Children’s Sabbath. This service will call attention to the needs of children around the world, and here at home. We will have some fun and share the child-like joy that we are challenged to practice.
The next opportunity for fellowship and coming together as the Christian Church in Georgia and beyond will be the Regional Assembly in Sandersville at First Christian Church. Sandersville has had a difficult struggle over the past several years. They started a renovation of their sanctuary and on the week it was to be dedicated, there was a fire that destroyed a portion of the newly refurbished sanctuary. Plans were drawn up and implemented to make repairs, and then their pastor passed away. They brought in an interim to oversee the restoration from the fire damage and the restoration after the grief of the congregation. They have a new pastor and want all of Georgia to come and see how they have responded to all these hardships.
If that isn’t encouragement enough, Rev. Dr. Mary Donovan Turner, the Carl Patton professor of Preaching at Pacific School of Religion will lead worship and do the Saturday morning Bible Study. Some of the older members may remember when she served in Warner Robins. Here is a chance to see her again and renew old acquaintances.
Need more? Our new Regional Minister will be formally installed on Saturday by the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada, Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins. Here is another chance to meet our Regional minister as well as meeting our General Minister. After the installation there will be a reception so you can have a chance to speak with them.
One more reason to attend, there will be child care available, but there will also be an opportunity for youth in middle and high school to participate in a lock-in at Camp Christian and then meet with Sharon Watkins Saturday morning. Nursery care is free. Cost for the children’s activities for K-5 is $5.00 per child, and the lock-in is $30.00. Attendees to the lock-in are to bring bedding, towels, toiletries comfortable clothes and snacks to share.
All of this will take place between Friday, Nov. 14th starting at 5:30 and ending in the mid-afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 15th. I have applications available and they can also be found at www.gadisciples.org. Follow the links to the Regional Assembly.
Have you ever been asked, “What church do you attend?” The look and words that follow are usually, “Yeah, but which one?” or “Which Christian Church?” They don’t know who we are as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Sometimes, neither do we. This is part of the reason that our denomination is called the best kept secret in the life of the American church.
The general church has asked all congregations to participate in a study called “Who We Are—Our Identity.” There will be videos and discussion, a sermon, and a book study available. The book to read and discuss is Sharon Watkins’ new book, Whole. The general church would like us to do this before the General Assembly next summer in Columbus, OH. The book is available from Chalice Press and Sharon will donate all the proceeds from the book sales to Disciples Mission Fund.
In December, there will be sign-up dates for beginning the study after the first of the year. We will meet on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings for one hour. We will commit to meet for 4-6 weeks. This is an opportunity for all of us to get a deeper sense of who we are in the religious life of our country and the unique voice we have to offer to other people. Let us come together in the new year to study, discuss, and expand our understanding of our church.