Last week, Caroline Furnace sent four staff, a Board member, and a volunteer to the Great Gathering, an ecumenical conference hosted by the Outdoor Ministries Connection (and the first of its kind!). The conference was held at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina, and included camps and conference centers from Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, and United Church of Canada backgrounds. There were over 500 participants! (AND more than 100 were representing Lutheran Outdoor Ministries!)
Throughout the event, we were challenged and inspired by speakers such as Joan Garry, Shane Claiborne, Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, and Rev. Dr. Luke Powery. Educational, content-packed workshops included discussions on building community, organizational growth, strategic planning, staff culture, best practices and risk management, becoming more diverse and inclusive, and more.The RelationSHIFT theme was designed to expand our understanding of relationship as God's people: to recognize that the Holy Spirit will be present in our gathering, to affirm the various gifts we bring, to find common ground, to navigate a changing landscape, and to figure out how we journey TOGETHER.
Ultimately, we found during closing worship that a popular camp song says it best: We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord (2x) And we pray that our unity will one day be restored And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love