“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…. And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:1a and 5a, NRSVue).
On this closing day of NOAC 2023, the congregation gathered for one last worship service by Lake Junaluska, and then departed for home. Worship included an anointing offered to all who wanted to receive it, and the sharing of glass stones that had been part of the worship center throughout the week as a remembrance of the rock of our faith who is always with us wherever we go.
Find today’s NOAC photo album at https://churchofthebrethren.smugmug.com/NOAC2023/Friday-Sept-8/. A new album is planned for each day this week, and additional photos will be added as they become available.
By the numbers
$2,772.53 was received in the final worship offering. The donations given for offerings will support the budget of the Discipleship and Ministry Formation programs of the Church of the Brethren. Online offerings received during NOAC will be reported at a later date.
Quote of the day
“If we practice tuning into awe maybe we will tune…into a world made whole and holy…. We are indeed living in a world where God dwells with us…. I think you are acting out a glimpse of that this week.”
— Katie Shaw Thompson, pastor of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., preaching the closing sermon. She focused on the last chapter of the book of Revelation, which she characterized as good news told with dramatic effects to gain our attention. Looking out over the NOAC crowd, she invited them to continue working in their congregations and their own home communities to create “a community connected and made whole by God.” Churches “can be this kind of community for each other at their best…but they’re not always.” It takes lay leadership as well as pastoral leadership, she said, to create the church into this new thing that God is doing in the world.
Glimpses of the closing worship service of NOAC 2023 (photos by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford)
The Press Team for NOAC 2023 includes Frank Ramirez, writer and pastor of Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind.; Benjamin Hoffmann, photographer and a volunteer with Brethren Volunteer Service; Russ Otto, on the website staff for the Church of the Brethren; and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, editor and news director for the Church of the Brethren.