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PC(USA) evangelism conference underway

Focus is on experiencing ‘sabbath’ together

By Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. David Gambrell leads evening prayers at the opening night of the evangelism conference. Paul Seebeck

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. – In his opening remarks at the national evangelism conference at the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center, the Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos shared a quote from The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel’s classic book on Jewish spirituality.

“Heschel wrote that ‘the goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments,’ ” Santos said.

Santos — the Presbyterian Mission Agency coordinator for Christian formation in the Theology, Formation & Evangelism ministries office and leader of this year’s conference on Sabbath Rest, Holy Surrender, Full Life — told the 135 attendees that fewer and fewer people are attending national conferences.

“They go home with a wealth of information but are exhausted,” Santos said. “So, we decided to create a different kind of conference with time and space to rest.”

Santos encouraged conference-goers to “be free of the things that dominate you this week,” by stepping into a different rhythm — one that is based on Sabbath principles of rest, holiness and sanctuary.

“Heschel’s daughter, Susan, wrote: ‘Inner liberty depends upon being free from the domination of things, as well as from domination of people,’ ” he said.

Santos’ remarks were followed by evening prayers — and the sharing of the Lord’s Supper.

The evangelism conference continues through Thursday with breakfast, followed by morning prayers, a plenary discussion on “What is Sabbath?” and sharing groups.

After lunch, conference-goers have time to rest, followed by community groups, dinner and evening prayers.

“We’re not just here to learn about Sabbath, but to experience it, by becoming a Sabbath community,” said Santos.

“Evangelism is a proclamation of the gospel to the world. What better way to portray this to the world than by becoming a Sabbath community this week?”

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