Thursday, February 08, 2007

mission to ministers/bono/the coming sabbath

This week has been busy. Our congregation hosted an annual "mission to ministers" for our annual conference. Over three hundred clergy showed up. The day began with a worship service, Alyce McKenzie of Perkins preached, the Bishop celebrated holy communion, I served as liturgist, a $2000 offering was received for the theological library of Africa University. Then a luncheon and a very long talk by an invited guest speaker on the subject of personal evangelism. Then an afternoon lecture on the forms of preaching----a very good lecture, solid content (also by Alyce McKenzie). Then workshops---I led one of them on the subject of preaching at Easter. Then the Bishop spoke, and announced the appointments of the district superintendents for the coming year. Then a service of evening prayers for peace, led by my friend Jonathan Marlowe. See his blog, under "Voices in The Wilderness". I believe he is going to include a prayer that he gave, for peace, at his blog. I will post it here soon. One of the real high points of the day. Then the board meeting, a great meal and the Bishop speaking again, on the importance of preaching. A long day, well-attended. Our church offered wonderful hospitality. I saw a number of good friends. No major glitches.

The next evening we had our usual Wednesday night meal, and the program offering this week was a videoconference interview with Bono on Africa and the global HIV/Aids crisis. I had seen the presentation this summer at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, and had ordered a copy, and it has been shown a couple of times in our congregation. Our primary response to the issues raised by Bono has been support of Africa University (see link under "Schools") and the constuction of an HIV/Aids clinic in Haiti. The video was very moving, and a cross-section of folks viewed it. The music is inspiring, Bono knows the scriptures, and he comes across as honest and compelling, like a 21st century prophet.

Today was a somewhat typical day in the ministry, not that it lacked times of meaning. We had breakfast with a couple of friends in the church. I tried to complete the first draft of the sermon, on the beatitudes from Luke 6 (I find Dallas Willard to be helpful here). I had lunch with a friend in the church---we went to Green's in uptown Charlotte, which is a local institution---I had never been there. I visited the mother of a couple in our church, and she is likely near death. We prayed together. Then I had a meal with a candidate for our music position----he is an exceptional person, as each of the finalists is likely to be. He auditioned with our choir, which is an extraordinarily talented group of people.

Tomorrow is Friday, and it will be a sabbath that I am anticipating with eagerness. The week has been full, and Sunday will be a day literally packed with events--morning worship services, a lunch Bible Study, the District Leadership Conference, hosted by our church, an evening chapel service. And then everything will begin again on Monday. So a breather, tomorrow will be nice.


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