September 4-8, 2023
Lake Junaluska, NC
NOAC is a Spirit-filled gathering of adults 50 and older who love learning and discerning together, exploring God’s call for their lives and living out that call by sharing their energy, insight, and legacy with their families, communities, and the world.
“God is Doing A New Thing”
“I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”
NOAC 2023 photos
NOAC 2023 news stories
NOAC summary & NOAC News video – PDF form – Word form
Bible study and keynote speaker videos – PDF form – Word form
In-person conference evaluation
Virtual conference evaluation
For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOAC 2023 wrap up video
Mark Charles – Tuesday
Mark Charles is a dynamic and thought-provoking public speaker, writer, and consultant. The son of an American woman (of Dutch heritage) and a Navajo man, he teaches with insight into the complexities of American history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and conciliation for the nation. He is one of the leading authorities on the 15th-century’s Doctrine of Discovery and its influence on US history and its intersection with modern-day society. Mark co-authored, along with Soong-Chan Rah, the book Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery (IVP, 2019). Mark ran as an independent candidate for the US Presidency in the 2020 election.
Ken Medema – Wednesday
For four decades, Ken Medema has inspired people through storytelling and music. Though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with heart and mind. His ability to capture spirit in word and song is unparalleled. One of the most creative and authentic artists performing today, Ken custom designs every musical moment of his performance with brilliant improvisation that defies description.
From the time he was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1943, Ken has been unable to see with his physical eyes. His sight is limited to distinguishing between light and darkness and seeing fuzzy outlines of major objects. “As a kid I was not widely accepted,” he says, “and I spent a lot of time by myself. Because I have lived with some degree of being different all my life, I have some sympathy for people who have been disenfranchised, whether they have been disabled or politically oppressed or whatever.”
Ken has provided leadership at NOAC, National Youth Conference and Annual Conference.
Ted Swartz – Wednesday
Ted Swartz is a writer, performer, producer, and chaser of goosebumps who has been mucking around in the worlds of the sacred and profane for over 30 years. He has a lifelong curiosity around laughter — the spiritual, delicious social lubricant that proclaims, “you are safe here.” He is the creator or co-creator of more than a dozen plays, performing across the US and in other countries.
Recently he wrote and performed in the new film No Feeling is Final, released in 2021. His one man show Life is a Comedy also premiered in 2021, and he continues to tour Holy Surprises and the Christmas show Just Give ‘Em The News with co-creator Jeff Raught.
In addition to acting in solo and multiple cast original shows, Ted is an accomplished speaker and teacher, melding theater, comedy, creativity, and soul in engaging presentations. He is the founder and Executive Director of Center for Art, Humor, and Soul. Ted has provided leadership at NOAC, National Youth Conference and Annual Conference.
Osheta Moore – Thursday
Pastor, speaker, mother, wife: Osheta Moore is passionate about peacemaking, racial reconciliation, and community development in the urban core. Osheta (pronounced o-she-da, and no, it doesn’t mean anything, she says, “my dad just made it up”) pastors Roots Moravian Church alongside her husband. Osheta is passionate about equipping the church to be everyday peacemakers. She is the author of Shalom Sistas, an invitation to women to practice the Hebraic concept of Shalom in their everyday lives and her most recent book, Dear White Peacemakers, is a love letter to White Christians on their anti-racism peacemaking journey. She is also completing her two year program to become an Spiritual Director so that she can help equip peacemakers with practices and prayers for the journey. Osheta has “flying in a hot-air balloon” at the top of her bucket list, and she is firmly convinced that everything is better after a nap. She’s thrilled to be joining NOAC this year! She preached at National Youth Conference last summer.
Jeremy Ashworth is a husband, father, and the Pastor of Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren in Peoria, AZ, a Phoenix suburb. He likes tacos.
Christina Singh is the pastor of Freeport Church of the Brethren in Freeport, Illinois since 2016. She is passionate about preaching the Word of God, working for God, as well as nurturing her church family.
Deanna Brown is currently founder and facilitator of Cultural Connections, an international multicultural pilgrimage for women traveling to India to participate in transformative justice and healing. Deanna and her husband, Brian Harley, live in Indiana where they celebrate life surrounded by nature and friends.
Lexi Aligarbes is the Co-Pastor at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren. She is passionate about intercultural ministries, cultivating spiritual practices in diverse communities, and celebrating the richness that comes with being a part of a Brethren church in the city.
Katie Shaw Thompson is the pastor of the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, IL, the mother of two, an aspiring knitter, and a four-season bike commuter. She is fascinated by scripture, the life stories each one of us has to share, the speculative fiction in her favorite novels, and the ways the stories we tell shape the world we live in.
Bible study leaders
Free access for Brethren homes
The NOAC Planning team is happy to announce a partnership with the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. FBH will be a sponsor of NOAC which allows for all of the Brethren Homes to access online NOAC at no cost. The online access will include the morning Bible Study led by Christine Bucher and Bob Neff, Keynote Speakers (Mark Charles, Ken Medema and Ted Swartz, and Osheta Moore), one virtual field trip each day, and evening worship. To receive the access link, please send a note to NOAC@brethren.org.
Glenn Bollinger, Karen Dillon, Jim Martinez, Leonard Matheny, Don Mitchell, Bonnie Kline Smeltzer, Karlene Tyler, Christy Waltersdorff (Coordinator), staff – Josh Brockway, Stan Dueck
- Brethren bits for Oct. 19, 2023
In this issue: Special group photos from NOAC, job opening, webinar recording from Part-time Pastor, Full-time Church, latest GFI newsletter, Christian Churches Together reporting, Elizabethtown College 125th anniversary in 2024, several releases and statements on Israel and Palestine from ecumenical partner organizations, and a prayer for peace.
- ‘We came to serve, but instead they served us’
The NOAC Planning Team took great pains not only to create opportunities for service projects, but to check back and make sure everything would be prepared. However, as can be the case, real life happened. The person at the Haywood Street church who had been in contact with NOAC planners had suddenly taken sick, and those filling in for them had no idea that 15 people were scheduled to arrive for a service project.
- Today at NOAC 2023 – Friday, Sept. 8 – “God Is Doing a New Thing”
Today at NOAC 2023 – Friday, Sept. 8 – “God Is Doing a New Thing”
- Today at NOAC 2023 – Thursday, Sept. 7 – “…What God Will Do”
Today at NOAC 2023 – Thursday, Sept. 7 – “…What God Will Do”
- Up early for a good walk, and a good cause
For those like myself, who are accustomed at NOAC to looking out through the window in the direction of the lake and seeing nothing but grey fog, it is a surprise to learn that before it is properly dawn there is a clear sky. Walking along the lakefront on the Rose Path, it was good to look up and see the cross shining brightly on the hill
- Learning about the Cherokee
Many of the 46 NOAC attendees who traveled by bus to Cherokee Village, and to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, were still mulling over what they had heard earlier in the day from keynote speaker Mark Charles.