From The Workshop August 9, 2023

From the Workshop:

Our General Assembly (GA) of the Christian Church (Disciples) started July 29 in Louisville, KY and wrapped up August 1. It’s a four day gathering of “church”–worship, business, service, fellowship and plenty of eating together. Our OK delegation, the only one with a pervasive state song, made our presence known! While the GA is far away from us, it’s good to know what the “general” church is doing. Here’s a very selected recap.
Saturday, July 29
Opening worship with welcome from the KY regional minister Don Gillette, and Andy Beshear, member of Beargrass Christian Church, and the governor of KY.  Army Chaplain (Major) Owen Chandler preached the opening sermon. He is a Disciple and author of A Bridge in Babylon, (stories of a military chaplain in Iraq). As always, in-Spirited music and singing lifted the roof. 
Worshipers spread out through Louisville churches and at Cain Ridge (the historic Southern Disciple birthplace pastored by Barton Stone). Adults, children, and youth attended afternoon workshops on the theme, “The Kingdom of God Within Us and Among Us.” The Week of Compassion led a “service service” focusing on literally framing a house to be delivered to flood-torn Western KY. More worship,music, preaching, and singing continued into the evening.
Invited artists created and led workshops on the Kingdom of God. Heavy business items included approving the 3-year-long revision to the Design of the Christian Church including moving the Assembly to every 3 years (with an online event in between), and restructuring the General Board to include more regional laity. The Assembly approved a resolution opposing “Christian nationalism” (a hybrid of Christianity and patriotism that is neither). In the evening worship the Assembly heard from Dr. David Hooker, a minister, scholar, former GA attorney general, psychologist, and US diplomat who focuses on rebuilding destroyed communities. A believer in the power of common stories, he focused on the realm of God breaking through the realm of despair. 
The Assembly re-elected Rev. Terri Hord as General Minister and President for a second six-year term. And volunteers loaded the framing on a truck bound for the family in western KY (where flooding took multiple homes).
Since I wasn’t there, I am sharing the words of a colleague who was, Rev. Danny Gulden in Indiana (formerly from Atlanta):
My reflection on the gathering, especially in light of everything that is written and shared about the decline of mainline denominations, is this: Indeed, denominations and judicatories are different from what they used to be. IMO, even though it’s painful, it’s good. Because what is emerging is the work of God.  Claiming ourselves as not just a governance structure but a movement with a message of God’s love and grace for all. A shared witness across many places. Churches, clergy, and all those serving the church know they are not alone in working for good in their communities. They are not alone in the issues they face.
And I am adding that that “movement of God’s love and grace for all” is real in our midst.

See you Sunday,

Tom, Interim Pastor