Take part in historic first virtual New Wilmington Mission Conference, July 17–19

2020 scriptural theme: ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight’

by Tammy Warren | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — For the first time in its 115-year history, the New Wilmington Mission Conference will meet online, July 17–19. Programming will be provided for all ages, and there will be no charge to participate in NWMC 2020.

“Because we are an international conference bringing people together from around the globe, and because we do not want to put any of our participants at risk, we have made the decision to move to a virtual platform for 2020,” said the Rev. Ginny Teitt, director of NWMC and organizing pastor of Concord Presbyterian Church near Columbus, Ohio. “We hope to capture the fun and joy that is often a part of the morning meeting, and we hope to provide opportunities for the meaningful interaction that has made the NWMC dear to so many for so long.”

This decision was a tough one, Teitt said. “The NWMC Board of Managers has ‘Zoomed’ together for virtual meetings where a task force was assigned to gather a list of criteria to inform our decision. Like many others agonizing over the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we prayed, wrestled, listened and waited, hoping things would change.”

Now that the initial grief, shock and disappointment of not being able to gather on the campus of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, are wearing off, Teitt said, those emotions are gradually being replaced by “excitement, imagination and expectation that God is doing something extraordinary through NWMC 2020.”

“Global communication and sophisticated internet platforms for virtual gatherings are a huge blessing for these unprecedented times,” Teitt said. “There will be opportunities for updates, inspiration, speaker presentations, testimonies and discussion, while participating online from home.” She said ideas are being considered to explore ways to offer community, encouragement and mission vision.

“We are imagining possibilities, including skits and entertainment,” Teitt said.

Conference typically brings together hundreds of individuals and families from the New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, area as well as some 30 states and 20 countries. Teitt and conference leadership on the Board of Managers hope this year’s virtual conference reaches even more participants since they won’t even have to pack a suitcase or board a plane to take part.

This year’s scriptural theme, chosen for the conference long before the pandemic, is 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

“I’m amazed and encouraged and deeply blessed by the talented and creative people who are prayerfully discerning and working so hard for NWMC 2020,” Teitt said. “We believe that the future course of the conference will be impacted by this experience.”

Additional information will be available on the NWMC website as it becomes available, nwmcmission.org.

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