Registration open for 1001 New Worshiping Communities national gathering

2017 annual event, ‘Living, Dying, Rising,’ to feature church planters and leaders

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service

Aisha Brooks-Lytle. (Photo provided)

LOUISVILLE – All across the landscape of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as leaders of the denomination’s nearly 400 new worshiping communities continue to transform the church—and the world—by growing new disciples for Jesus Christ, they, too, hunger for a space in which to grow and be nurtured.

The 1001 New Worshiping Communities national gathering seeks to provide just such a space.

“Living, Dying, Rising,” which takes its scriptural basis from John 20:19–23, will be held August 7–10 at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The 2017 national gathering will outline the story of the life of Christ and also the life of the church.

“This conference has always been a place where I am personally renewed,” says the Rev. Sean M. Chow, Western Region Associate for Training for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities (NWC) initiative, a churchwide movement launched by the 220th General Assembly (2012) to begin 1001 new worshiping communities by the year 2022.

“There is something special about being around like-minded individuals,” he continues. “Many times NWC leaders are ‘out of the box’ thinkers and often feel isolated or alone in their contexts. Our national conferences allow for the breadth and depth of these leaders and mutual encouragement to follow where God is calling each of us.”

Chow will also be co-leading a workshop with the 1001 movement’s national coordinator, Vera White, on starting new worshiping communities. Theirs is one of nearly a dozen workshops offered on a wide range of topics, suitable for beginning and advanced new worshiping community pastors and leaders, mid council staff and committee members, and interested others.

Juan Sarmiento. (Photo provided)

Conference presenters will include the Rev. Juan Sarmiento, associate director for mission, The Outreach Foundation; the Rev. Aisha Brooks-Lytle of Wayne Presbyterian Church, organizing pastor of The Common Place, a faith-based educational outreach and community center in Philadelphia; and the Revs. Jeya and Daniel So, a clergy couple at the Anchor City Church, a new worshiping community in San Diego, with proven gifts and vision for church planting. The Rev. Abby King-Kaiser, a dynamic leader in campus ministry at Xavier University, will coordinate worship. Pete Feltman, director of Music at College Avenue Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California, will serve as music leader.

Feltman, who preaches and teaches with music—“or to put it more accurately, the music preaches to and teaches me, which I then feel compelled to share with others”—says that it is important for people to be at peace with the “cyclical nature of reality.”

“Living, dying, rising are just natural progressions to our life cycle, and—unfortunately—often the source of anxiety and fear,” he says.  “Because music has the interesting ability to soothe or in some cases completely negate these existential anxieties, I believe that it is a fitting tool to help the church navigate these turbulent cultural waters.”

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For complete information and to register online, visit the national gathering website.


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