Thought I might share an article I wrote as a description of the annual conference for the Northeast PA Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. At the conference, officers are elected and there is much mingling and visiting. Somewhere along the way, our faith is strengthened and shared, too.
Twenty-Second Annual NEPA Women of the ELCA Conference
I was driving on unfamiliar roads. It wasn't bad enough that I was nervous about attending my first convention where I knew almost nobody, but now I had to deal with a detour. Thankfully I had the foresight to be in my husband's car. It is new and equipped with a GPS navigation system. Still I was working hard to remain calm.
Thinking about the convention reminded me of the convention theme "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under Heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1. Boy isn't that true. Sometimes you don't know the season has changed until you are in the middle of it! There is a line in a song from the musical Wicked that always hits home with me. The song is "Thank Goodness" As the good witch thinks about her life she muses, “There are bridges you cross, you didn't know you crossed until you've crossed.” Sometimes decisions you make change the course of your life - if only for a short while. These thoughts kept me busy until before I knew it, I was at
. Friedens Lutheran Church
A whirlwind of registration, refreshments and introductions ensued. Our first order of the day was a worship service with Holy Communion. How blessed I felt to be among these women standing and worshipping together. Kathleen Schaeffer AiM delighted us with a thoughtful and humerous look at the five Ecclesiastical times chosen to represent the theme: a time to embrace, to sow, to heal, for peace and of love.
As a delegate and voting member, the business segment required my attention. And we went about the business of rules, committees, Synod WELCA nominations and voting. Charlene Walker-Horton representing the National WELCA President Beth Wrenn spoke about the eighth Triennial Convention and Gathering taking place in
in July. She also challenged us to all "Act Boldly" - and find your bold. I like thinking about that - “Find your Bold” Where can I be of service that also fulfills me - makes me empowered to be bold? Spokane, WA
We heard the wonderful story of
. It is a day camp that is for kids affected by disaster. This year there will be a camp in Camp Noah for children affected by the explosions where it provides an opportunity for them to share their own story, and offers a safe place for them to face their fears and grieve their losses. Allentown
Then it was time for group sessions. It was really hard choosing only two of the three excellent offerings. What would you choose if faced with these options : Justice for Human Trafficking, Global Mission Support, Bible Study “Living Between the Trees”? We had the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns at every session. Throughout the day, my thoughts keep coming back to “A time for every matter under Heaven” These are serious issues we discussed. I wonder what the time is for acting boldly.
Our ritual transition and installation of officers was emotional as outgoing president Pat Reitnauer received accolades for her accomplishments and many years as president. Incoming President Dawn Talley has two years to make her vision of more participation and interaction among units a reality. She is ready to act boldly.
The convention was formally closed and NEPA Synod Bishop Samuel Zeiser delighted us all with stories of the crosier. The crosier, given to the NEPA Synod by the Women of the ELCA, travels with the Bishop as he visit’s the many churches in the synod. As a way of connecting us all together, he encourages grasping the crosier like so many of our brothers and sisters have done. As he travels around, the crosier carries with it the love, support and hopes of the congregants that touch it.
Music by “The Dogs” ended the day. And as we all went our separate ways, I looked back fondly at the women I met, the focused opportunities for learning and the charge we were all given to Act Boldly. My day that started worry ended with a gladness that I share the love of Christ with this community of women. And as the times for every purpose under heaven change our lives, we find Christ right there waiting to take us through.