Lots to chew on at lunchtime workshops

The Assembly has returned from lunch, called back to order by the hymn “Abide With Me.” Refreshed by lunch and fellowship, the Voting Members took their seats. Back to business!

Workshops like this one on New Connections were an opportunity for smaller group learning and dialogue.

There were four breakout sessions: New Connections, Circle of Welcome, When Racism Takes Over My Sacred Spaces, and Sustainable Development as Spiritual Calling.

The breakout session on New Connections went over the book Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church, the book distributed during the Plenary Session. The group discussed the future of the church and church leadership, and talked about strategies for involving young members and empowering them to be part of congregations.

In the second breakout session, Circle of Welcome—Congregational Engagement with Immigrants and Refugees, the group learned about the ongoing refugee crisis, especially Syrian refugees, and what we as congregations and individuals can do.

The session on racism, When Racism Takes Over My Sacred Spaces, was at once challenging and uncomfortable, yet healing and uplifting. The group took on notions about race and culture in American society that often go unnoticed and discussed the importance of having conversations, despite the discomfort.

Finally, Sustainable Development as Spiritual Calling discussed the importance of our stewardship of the environment and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals which focus on improving lives globally, as well as how people on an individual level can make a difference.

With minds and bodies fed, the Assembly is now ready to hear and vote on resolutions. No rest for the weary; there’s still a lot of work to do.

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