What are your thoughts about Sunday’s emphasis on spiritual renewal?
“This is directing our focus where it should be especially before we are in business sessions. I appreciated the emphasis on grace this morning.” — Lee Smith, Mount Joy congregation in Pennsylvania
“What we’re doing is building up the spirit of covenant relationship, that our differences really are our gifts and the places where we find out who we are as followers of Jesus…. ‘In quietness and trust is my strength,’ Isaiah. That’s what’s happening to me at the beginning of this Conference. It’s the deep trust that God is doing something among us and it’s time to pay attention.” — Paul Roth of Broadway, Va.
“I feel challenged to do more. There’s a lot more I could be doing every day. It’s kind of funny talking about works when I’m talking about grace! But works are grace come to life.” — Nate Polzin, district executive minister for Michigan District
“I appreciated Phillip Yancey’s balanced treatment that everyone should look at self, liberal or conservative, without casting a stone. Yancey didn’t say that last part but it was implied.” — Dwight Ramsey, Keyser congregation in West Virginia
“I have really appreciated this whole day, to have the opportunity to just take in inspiration, rest, prayer, and teaching, and not be constrained by business.” — Sonja Griffin, district executive minister of Western Plains District
|Photo by Mandy Garcia|
|Mark Yaconelli speaks with the young adults.|
“I am really enjoying this day, it seems more spiritual than in the past. The speakers have been great.” — Rosemary Harvey, Salamonie congregation in Northern Indiana
“I feel exhausted. I feel a strong connection but exhausted.” — Todd Hammond, West Milton congregation in Ohio
“I appreciated the Concert of Prayer. The personal parts struck us in the heart.” — Katy Simmons, Sangerville congregation in Virginia
“The worship is moving, wonderful. I appreciate the postlude [at the morning worship]. Sometimes it seems we ought to be told to sit until the very last note.” — Dale Fike of Easton, Md.
“I went to the music workshop with Shawn Kirchener, on the stage. It was wonderful. We learned a lot about how important music can be.” — Mary Fike of Easton, Md.
“The [equipping] workshop on simple living gave us much food for thought.” — Mary Simmons, Sangerville congregation in Virginia
“Time spent in song, prayer, and learning on Sunday is what we should be doing. The first year I was here and we spent Sunday afternoon doing business I was shocked. This is much better.” — Barbara Gardner, Sangerville congregation in Virginia
“I went to the Simple Living workshop and the Phillip Yancey workshop. Phillip talked about the seasons of your life, spring summer, fall, and winter, and encouraged us to slow down and take care of ourselves.” — Jill Keyser Speicher of Sinking Springs, Pa.
— Comments by Conference-goers about the Day of Spiritual Renewal on the Sunday of Annual Conference.
The day included two worship services with popular speakers Philip Yancey and Mark Yaconelli, an evening concert of prayer, morning and afternoon Equipping Workshops on a wide variety of topics along with luncheons and dinners including the Brethren Press and Messenger dinner featuring Stanley Hauerwas, and an evening reception in the Exhibit Hall hosted by the Mission and Ministry Board and the staff of the Church of the Brethren. While many people approached for interviews were enthusiastic about the Day of Spiritual Renewal, not all wished to be quoted for attribution and some expressed a lack of enthusiasm for the events of the day, expressing their opinion that they were contrived or unhelpful. And for some, the difficult experiences of recent Annual Conferences still lingered and affected their feelings about events and leadership this year.
Interviews were carried out by Frank Ramirez, Karen Garrett, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford of the Annual Conference News Team.