by Rev. Allen Harris, regional minister; photos by George Franklin
Over 200 Disciples gathered on the farthest western edge of the Christian Church Capital Area in Shepherdstown, WV, Oct. 14 and 15 under the theme “Many Hands, Many Missions, One Body.” The guiding scripture from 1 Corinthians 12:4-14 was explored by all three Assembly speakers as well as by the more than dozen workshop leaders.
The Rev. Bruce Barkhauer of the Center for Faith and Giving spoke at the Friday evening All Assembly Dinner about the sometimes thin but always persistent thread of hope that runs through all mission offered in Jesus’ name and through his grace. The Rev. David Shirey, senior pastor of Central Christian Church in Lexington, KY, preached at the Saturday morning worship service about the need to “re-lig” the body of Christ, taking apart and reclaiming the word “religion,” which is fundamentally about connecting and loving one another. The Rev. Dr. Delores Carpenter, professor of Christian education at Howard Divinity School and member of the denomination’s administrative committee, led the Mission Gathering which was at the heart of the Assembly on Saturday, and encouraged participants to share how the work of their own many hands and their congregations’ many missions, come together to build the one Body, the Church.
Other highlights of the Capital Area Regional Assembly included:
- Learning from over a dozen workshop facilitators on topics as diverse as prayer and prison ministry, grief and loss to healing relationships, speaking out against racism and white privilege, working to free persons from poverty, advocacy for refugees and immigrants, creating a culture of generosity, and innovative use of space in our church buildings!
- Praising God through the delightfully diverse styles of the Heavenly Harmonies singing octet from First Christian Church, Hagerstown, MD; the Glenn Pearson Jazz Trio from North Chevy Chase Christian Church, Chevy Chase, MD; the Total Praise Dance Ministry from Washington, DC; the Signing Choir from Bethany Beach Christian Church, Bethany Beach, DE; and the Praise Team from University Christian Church, Hyattsville, MD
- Assembling hundreds of hygiene kits by the youth of the Assembly to be sent to Church World Service for their work in disaster relief efforts.
- Receiving two new congregations seeking affiliation in the Christian Church (Disciples Of Christ): Haitian Pentecostal Christian Church in Salisbury, MD with their pastor, Sr. Gabrielle Montillus; and Bethel Christian Church DC, Washington, DC with their pastor, the Rev. Darren Phelps. Both congregations had delegations in attendance.
- Celebrating the final implementation phase of the Share The Light Capital Campaign with the start of construction on extending and improving the dining hall at Camp Mary Mac and the building of a staff quarters.
- Honoring Teresa Swihart for over 20 years of service as chairperson of the Outdoor Ministries Committee.
- Tours of nearby Tolson’s Chapel, built in 1886-87 whose first members were former slaves.
- Three book signings by authors: Rev. Elizabeth Hagan, author of “Birthed,” Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, author of “Community Of Prayer,” and Rev. David Shirey, author of “It Don’t Get Any Better Than This!”
A team of planners, under the leadership of the Rev. Delancy Catlett, organized and led the Regional Assembly and represented congregations from the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and the western part of Maryland. The next Capital Area Regional Assembly in October of 2018, will be in the Washington, DC area. The Rev. Dr. Martha Brown is the Moderator of the Regional Board and the Rev. Allen V. Harris is the Regional Minister of the Capital Area Region. For more information please check out the Region’s website www.cccadisciples.org or follow the Region on Facebook (cccadisciple) and Twitter (@CCCADisciples)