Nothing Can Separate Us
Was it a different Disciples gathering? Yes. It was the visible markers of a General Assembly: exhibit hall, bible study, workshops, and worship in digital presence. There was even the exhibit hall scavenger hunt.
Was it a different Disciples gathering? Yes. But, occasional tech issues, screens, slow internet, typing chats, video chats, and home communion cannot, has not, kept the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in local congregations, 31 Regions, or the General Church from the work of ministry that God has given us. That was evident as the Disciples Virtual Gathering moved through the day on August 7th. Like Regions and congregations have done, our General Ministries have discovered new ways to do their work on our behalf and tell the stories of their work.
It is hard to know how many Oklahoma Disciples participated in the Disciples Virtual Gathering. We hope to get news of participation in the coming month. A chat box served as lobby space where you could scroll through name after name to chat with individuals or drop a “hello from . . .” to the entire gathering. A photo booth for a selfie put faces to names. There were more workshops than one could attend. Fortunately, those who paid to attend Disciples Virtual Gathering will be able to replay the recordings which is not something that has been offered, except for worship, at previous General Assemblies.
We offer our thanks to the dreamers and planners who created the gathering out of digital code, organized speakers, and managed the technology during the day. We give thanks for the workshop (webinar) leaders. We give thanks for the office staff and leaders of our General Ministries.
In her sermon, Rev. Terri Hord Owens reminded us: “Church – Disciples – we don’t need a new identity. We just need to be the church we say we are.”
We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.
As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.
That kind of church is needed in digital and physically spaces. That kind of church hasn’t been distant when responding to natural and human made tragedy here in Oklahoma and around the world. We are masked when necessary to protect community, but not sanitized to suffering that our action can ease or stop. It just takes a willingness to recognize our neighbor. “What are we willing to do to participate in intentional Christian community?” That is what the Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults asked and used as a compass when designing the health protocols that would allow the Region to offer summer camp this year. It is a good question for your congregation, and the Region, to consider however long it takes for this pandemic to mutate from health catastrophe to health nuisance.
Be the church you say you are. Be a blessing Disciples.