St. John’s Episcopal Church, Montgomery, AL
Rest, reflection, and renewal are the three words I would use to describe my time at the Gathering of Leaders meeting in Kanuga, NC. I was drawn to the meeting by the opportunity to spend time with my BFF from seminary, a person I rarely get to be with as we live half a country away from one another. Once at the Gathering, the opportunity to make more friends and find nourishment in the expansive Body of Christ presented itself. Not only did I make new friends, I connected with priests from all over the country and shared interests and view points that offered me a more expansive awareness of who we are as Episcopalians and how we live into this Jesus Movement thing.
The schedule reflected a daily rhythm of structured time and casual fellowship. The peer-led presentations during our more structured settings were engaging and professional. They offered insight into the ways in which particular parishes and ministries were called to partner with God to do his work of redemption. Their witness served to encourage me and others as we lifted up each individual’s work in this communal setting. Bible study and Eucharist were also a part of our structured schedule, keeping us spiritually grounded and driven as we reflected on what evangelism and the Jesus Movement were calling us to be. Though our schedule was dense, it was not overwhelming nor did it fill every moment of our day. Walks were taken under a canopy of yellow and orange foliage. Casual conversation and shared laughter were in abundance. And the opportunity to make friends and spend time with old ones presented itself throughout our time of Gathering.
Gathering of Leaders left me feeling refreshed and recharged as I returned home and prepared for Advent. In this new season and year, I find myself reflecting on the balance of my work and spiritual life–the things I need to stop and those I need to start. Jesus is important to me. Gathering of Leaders reinforced my need to put less focus on myself and what I am doing and more focus on Jesus and what he is doing. As I await his incarnation, I do so with a renewed spirit and joyous expectations having felt his incarnational presence on a mountain in North Carolina with forty of my peers.
Light and Life,