How’s that for a title? I spent Thursday-Saturday on the beautiful, HILLY, campus of Acadia University as an ecumenical observer to their annual meeting.
- Prayer – Extemporaneous prayer was threaded through almost everything, there was no hesitation from clergy OR lay people to offer prayer before, during or after a presentation or discussion.
- Passion and Conviction – Most of the theology expressed is not even close to mine, however words were shared with a depth of passion and conviction that I rarely hear and experience in the United Church, including my own. I am challenging myself to up my preaching game!
- Old friends – As I was sitting through the first session, I suddenly remembered that a colleague from our days in the north end of Halifax might be there too! I texted him and he was three rows behind me!
- Scripture – the Baptists know their scripture! And pepper their theological conversations with it.
- Common Challenges – I heard many of the same challenges that the United Church faces. From how to connect with your neighbours, to how to live out the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, there is much common ground. The opening presentation from the Rev. Dr. Stuart Blythe, the new director of the Doctor of Ministry program, Eating Forbidden Fruit: Peter, Baptist Polity and Engaging With Culture, had me contemplating a DMin. once again.
- Great food – the dining hall at Acadia is amazing! They are committed to fresh and local and it shows. There was always a variety of choices, along with a salad bar. And I managed to stay away from the ice cream freezer!
- A/C in the residence! – I understand that not all of the residences have A/C, mine did! And during a hot summer, it was definitely appreciated!
- Frank talk about money – And what it can do and multiple ways to give. They took up three offerings over the course of the three days. One of the offerings was going to be used for micro grants to congregations who were experimenting with new ways to engage people. Projects that just needed a little seed money to get off the ground. You could give cash, cheque, debit, credit AND text!
- Technology – They made such good use of technology, from videos for congregations to download, to faith based programs, to giving opportunities. WAY beyond the usual use of Power Point.
- A chance to connect with ecumenical colleagues at the President’s Breakfast –As Stuart Blythe stated, “Food matters!”
- An opportunity to celebrate the confirmation of a local colleagues upcoming ordination – Annie will be ordained at the Elmsdale Baptist Church on September 16, 2018.
- A chance to take a break and explore the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens! I had no idea they existed!