Monday at NOAC

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Dava Hensley, Monday evening preacher, speaks about the cross she wears as a witness to Christ.

Quotes of the Day

“It’s not a piece of jewelry. It’s about a death, and a resurrection.” – Dava Hensley, opening preacher, talking about the cross she wears as a witness to those she meets

“What happens in Schwarzenau, stays in Schwarzenau.” –The NOAC News Team

“I think you should call yourselves ‘chronologically advanced.’” –A member of the NOAC Planning Committee during an amusing opening reading playing on the common misconceptions of aging, and listing all of the things that NOAC attendees will remember and appreciate because of their life experiences

Glow in the Darkness

Focusing on The Message translation of Isaiah 58:6-10, Dava Hensley called on the Brethren at the opening worship at NOAC to “glow in the darkness.” Sharing a story about a young girl at Sunday school, who when challenged by her mother to let her light shine admitted, “I blowed out my light,” and a parable about four glow sticks willing to sing “This Little Light of Mine” while all giving excuses for not helping out in a blackout, Hensley asked, “Have we blowed out our light? We are to glow in the darkness!”

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Worshippers wave glow sticks.

After all, she pointed out, after reading the first couple verses of Genesis, “The first thing that came out of that dark chaotic mess was light.” God’s people, she said, were challenged by the prophet Isaiah to understand that “true worship is concrete action.” She then asked, “Has our worship become frozen ritual?”

Having proclaimed, “We are to be a sent people to the ends of the earth sharing God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed,” she told a personal story of a time she did not feel like shining very brightly at all. Members of her congregation had agreed to wear crosses and to use any question about the cross as an opening to share about Jesus. One night at the hospital she hoped to rush in and out, visiting a parishioner and heading home, when someone complimented her on the cross she wore. At first she was silent, but her conscience finally caused her to thank that person, and to share it was her faith in Jesus she wore that cross. The person then told her he was at the hospital to visit a loved one, and facing a difficult decision about continuing life support. She helped that person realize Jesus would be with them during this tough time.

“If I had kept my mouth shut I would not have let my light shine,” she said and then asked, “What is holding us back from allowing our light to glow in the darkness? I challenge us. When was the last time we allowed our light to shine in the darkness? Jesus was talking about us when he said you are the Light of the World.”

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Welcome to NOAC and the theme, Healing Springs Forth.

At the close of worship all in attendance snapped and shook the glow sticks handed to them when they arrived, so that they might shine a light in the darkness.

Dava Hensley has been the pastor of First Church of the Brethren, Roanoke, Va., the past seven years.

–Frank Ramirez is pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and a volunteer on the NOAC Communication Team.

Question of the Day

“What are your hopes and dreams for the week?” Some answers from NOAC staff and planning committee members.

Photo by Eddie Edmonds
The NOAC staff and volunteers who make the conference a success.

“My dream is that we have a great time, with great weather, and a great NOAC.”—Kim Ebersole

“My hope is that we have the sort of community we are known for here at NOAC, that we hear a challenging and encouraging word from our speakers, that healing will spring forth.”—Jonathan Shively

“I am really excited just to be here. I was supposed to be here in 1958 for NYC but I broke my leg! I’m recognizing landmarks from photographs I saw. I’m really glad I can help with hospitality.”—Delora Roop

“My hope is to reconnect with brothers and sisters, experience a deep sense of Christ’s presence.”—Eric Anspaugh

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
The NOAC News Team play Peter and Paul.

“My hope is that we have meaningful worship, great singing and preaching, and have fun.”—Bev Anspaugh

“My hope is that everyone leaves here feeling more spirit-filled than when they arrived.”—Donna Kline

“I hope that we have a blessed time of renewal with each other and our Lord, meeting old and new friends.”—Jennie Ramirez

“My hope is that people will be able to take a Sabbath rest, reordering rhythm, and share not only worship but play together, have reunion with friends, and ice cream.”—Deanna Brown

“My hope is to build relationships between young adults and older adults.”—Becky Ullom Naugle