Friday, May 4, 2012

God's Radical Hospitality - Peggy's Postings

The Son rose on the Florida-Bahamas 25th Anniversary Synod Assembly in Orlando. A great venue, and an even greater purpose - teaching God's Radical Hospitality!

I arrived yesterday and received the grand tour of the Convention Center by my roommate, Michele Hilton. Our last stop was the sacristy to see Pastor Bob Schaeffer and check on the worship schedules for the following days. A few last minute tweaks have to be made in order for this all to go off without a hitch - but if anyone can get 'er done, it's Pastor Bob.

Michele and I went off to forge for food, finding a few stragglers on the way to share a table with. Dinner was relaxing and terrific as Michele's daughter, Amy, and grandaughter, Jamey, arrived and ate dinner with us. Jamey will be in the opening worship service as the Book Bearer. We're all so proud of that child!

This morning the Market Place opened up. While visiting the many Missions I talked to some very interesting people. At the Second Harvest they have a mouse pad that you can pick up (for free), and the picture was designed by a dughter of a staff member. It's a Food Flow Chart - food comes in - food goes out. Pretty simplistic concept for such a complicated process.

At the WELCA Table, they're asking for Wisdoms from the ladies who were stopping by. They are going to compile them for the generation coming after them. They also have some very beautiful pins to purchase. I bought one - love it!

My best cache was stopping Village on the Isle. Not only did Rev. Don Hillerich, who is the Chaplin at Village on the Isle, give me some fine freebies, but he saw I had a need, and offered me hospitality. A bag for my collection, plus he added everything from playing cards to an emery board. Great stuff!

Spoke with one of the two authors available for book signing and chatting, Kathleen Rehl, about her book she has written for Widows. She told me she goes to different places and gives workshop on how to deal with being alone after being married for so long. That sounds like it would be an excellent topic, especially here in Florida.

I had to leave the Market because some of the meetings were starting. Paul Summers hosted the new voting members reception. He began by welcoming them with a little noise, party poppers and noise makers!! Cheryl Stewart and Michele Hilton welcomed them and helped them put a face with a name. The explained that the reason they sit up front at the Assembly is so someone can keep an eye on them. Honestly they want the opinions of those new voting members so they can perfect the Assemblies to come. Paul continued to explain how the process worked and how to use the red/green/white cards. He also stressed that they should not be intimidated by the seasoned speakers, everyone has a right to be heard. He finished by telling them that it's all about being a witness - and remembering that the staff from the hotel is a great mission field. They may be serving us right now, but they really might need to hear about Jesus.

Next stop was the Youth. Trixie Richter met with the Youth and strongly encouraged them to attend the Pizza Party tomorrow night. Trixie explained how they would have the opportunity to "stump the Bishop" with questions. It would be a good time for the Bishop to get to know the Youth and make a connection. She also told them that all the adults here would like to connect with them on some level - that we're all glad they're here. But she added, if there is some adult that not being very hospitable to them, they should text her, and she'd go talk to them. Be nice to the Youth.

The Youth were introduced: Eric Thone just moved from Minnesota and was a Youth Director at his Church. He said he'd be availble to do time-filling activities, Alexis from New Port Richey was attending because she wanted to know what it's all about, Steven from Lake City (a p.k.) was there by default. Lainey from Lake City admitted she was dragged there - I say that a good "drug" problem. Owen from Naples was curious about the boredom factor, and Karen from Tallahassee said it was her 5th or 6th Assembly and wondered what this one would be like. Elsa from Stewart, a FSU student, (go Noles!) said it was her 2nd year attending.

So the first Plenary Session started with singing and a welcome from Bishop Benoway. There this year's theme: God's Radical Hospitality."

Bishop then began a simple explanation of the voting devices that were at each place. They're called "Qwizdom" and they are an electronic means for collecting the votes. Bishop felt he needed to let us know that they weren't remote controls, cell phones, or electric razors. They were simple to operate but you should limit your voting to your keypad only - no voting by proxy. He said that if the devices weren't used for awhile they would go into sleep mode - kind of like some of us.

There was much business discussed, and decisions made using that Quizdom clicker. We were introduced to Dr. Shaunna Hannan who took us through the Bible Study on Luke 15. She talked about God's hospitality using Psalm 23, but my favorite part was when she introduced the tableau. She read Luke 15 and had us close our eyes, the participants in the tableau would pose and we would open our eyes again. In the frame they represented a portion of the story. It was like looking through a Viewmaster. Very cool.

After the break, my seat-mate, Karen Stewart and I, thought that people needed to get moving a little better when we sang, "Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ." There wasn't as much joy in the house as we thought there should be.
Come on folks, let not look totally Lutheran, shake it a little.

Settling back we listened to speakers from Together in Mission. Grants were awarded in December 2011 as follows:
1. Apostles Brandon - $5,000 for FishHawk
2. Flagler/Volusia Conference - $12,500 for Training
3. St. John Jacksonville - $10,000 for Labyrinth and a Community Garden
4. King of Kings - $10,000 for a Respitate Room for Alzheimer Care Givers.

The two latest grants were awarded to:

1. Good Shepherd Hernando - $5,000 to Feed and Donate to the needy.

2. FL/Bahamas Synod - $5,000 for MissionInsite.

During the Global Missions Report Pastor Livinson was introduced. He spoke about wanting to see the hope in the eyes of the people of Haiti again. He talked about all that is going on in Haiti. He told us he needs Accompanyment with all the donations they are gett. He doesn't just want beans and rice - he wants someone to come with the beans and rice to teach something to the people. He said the people of Haiti are people of the Ressurection, rising from the rubble of the earthquake.

There were more reports and resolutions explained. Conference Deans and Chairman were also introduced. Irene from the Resource Center came and asked, WHO ARE YOU GONNA CALL? That's right - the Rescource Center.

The evening wrapped up with Worship and the Ordination of Pastor Eliexer. All the ordained ministers present came one-by-one and laid hands on him while the congregation sang. A very special way to end an wonderful day of the Assembly.
Well - the ice cream awaiting us as we left ran a close 2nd. I think the more the night wore on the easier I was to impress. Tomorrow has many more things in store for us - beginning at 7 AM at the fitness center (for 68 of us), or a Budget Forum or Criminal Justice Forum . . . . hmmmm perhaps I'll sleep in. See you at 8:30 for morning worship!

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