“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).
Welcome to NOAC!
The 2019 National Older Adult Conference started off today with a welcome festival, fitting for the theme scripture text featured in the opening worship in the evening, Romans 15:7.
At the welcome festival, participants had time for fellowship and fun activities and enjoyed music by bluegrass trio the Banjocats, as they waited for their turn to register.
The welcome theme continued in worship where preacher Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm of the Bethany Seminary faculty preached on “Reaching for the Strange and the Beautiful,” speaking about the “strange and beautiful” welcome of Christ to us, and our calling to share that with others.
After worship, some 80 people gathered under a tent by the lakeside for a “Vigil for Holy Hospitality” led by chaplains Kim and David Witkovsky. The vigil was offered as an opportunity for participants to express concern for the experience of migrants and refugees, for the sin of racism, and for the injustice of poverty, and recommit to live out the welcome of God for all people.
Quotes of the day
“I thought this was the National Older Youth Conference!”
-- General secretary David Steele welcoming the crowd to NOAC, and commenting on his lack of a suit jacket. He noted that this is the 15th NOAC held by the Church of the Brethren.
“We are glad you’re here!”
-- Christy Waltersdorff, coordinator of the 2019 NOAC, in her welcome to the congregation at the start of evening worship.
“He [Jesus] showed there is nothing God won’t do to love us back to life.... How strange and beautiful is that!... Strange and beautiful is hte reach of God to us and that’s why we can welcome one another.”
-- Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm of the Bethany Seminary faculty, preaching for the opening worship service.
“Loving God, remind us that all people and indeed all creation are yours and not ours.... As you have welcomed us and redeemed us...help us to open our hearts.”
-- David Witkovsky, who with Kim Witkovsky led the evening’s “Vigil for Holy Hospitality” focused on concerns for immigration, racism, and poverty.
“Doing events like this is really special to us.”
-- Michael McLain of Michael and Jennifer McLain and the Banjocats, who provided the music for the afternoon’s welcome festival. He reported to Walt Wiltschek, editor of the “Senior Moments” NOAC daily news sheet, that the trio do a lot of visits to schools to do educational programs about the traditions of bluegrass and really like sharing their gifts. They are based in White Bluff, Tenn., just outside Nashville.
Find the NOAC news index page at www.brethren.org/noac2019 . Contributors to this coverage include Walt Wiltschek, editor of the Senior Moments daily news sheet; Frank Ramirez, writer; Jan Fischer Bachman and Russ Otto, the website staff; and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services (editor).