Just These Thoughts My Friends...
At the end of January a small group of us travelled to Colorado Springs to take part in our ECO National Gathering. The theme was “Locally Grown,” and emphasized the importance of each congregation taking advantage of their gifts within the local context of ministry, as well as making plans to take “our next flourishing step.” The conference allowed for spirit-filled worship, fellowship, and the opportunity to hear from many powerful speakers who challenged us to consider the importance being a people who share the good news always. If you would like to view any of the keynote speakers, which I would highly encourage you to, you can find them at: http://econationalgathering.org/2019ng/. Other reflections from the conference follow below.
At the February session meeting, the elders were briefed on this conference, and will be thinking and praying about what God’s next “step” for us at Rock Presbyterian will be. It is always a good thing to envision and dream of what God will do. As his plan for our next flourishing steps becomes clear, we will share it with you. Until then, let us continue to seek God’s will for our life, be salt and light, and share the love of Jesus with the world.
Thankful for you!
Dr. Chris Leonard
The National Gathering was a wonderful event to attend. The theme was Flourishing Churches Next Steps. We at Rock are now firmly founded as an ECO congregation and are ready for our next steps. I would encourage you to go to the ECO website and view the most recent newsletter which includes links to many of the speakers we heard in January. If I were to recommend one to choose it would Albert Tate. He had a great message, was sincere about his own shortcomings, and entertaining as well. One of his lines I thought was great, “diversity is not an opportunity to fight but an opportunity to celebrate one another.” He spoke of three things we should do:
1. Celebrate diversity - requires a deep reconciliation and a consciousness to understand another’s life circle;
2. Posture of Empathy - sitting in another’s pain, coming alongside that person, not about being right but being present;
3. Love - having and being a safe place to gather broken people.
The meeting was a busy, wonderful few days to hear great speakers on how to move forward with flourishing next steps. One of the highlights was our very own Mary Ann Edwards taking the reins of the Presbytery of South Carolina as moderator. Our Presbytery is heavily involved in missions especially in India where the saving grace of Jesus is growing exponentially.
For those of you who have been to the Christian Life Conference before, I would say the National Gathering is like CLC on steroids. I pray we will all come together to fulfill ECO’s vision and hear the Holy Spirit’s call to our Flourishing Next Steps.
Lee Goldstein, Elder Class of 2020
It was a joy to be at our ECO National Gathering this January, 2019 in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs is a beautiful place, circled by the mountains, including Pike's Peak. It refreshed all of our souls just to be together in the Lord's name seeing those beautiful mountains throughout the day! I attended a pre-conference Pastor's Retreat, which gave training on leadership and a new program to help congregations find their spiritual gifts. Probably the best part was just the fellowship with other ECO pastors from around the country, which is an ongoing joy.
The contemporary and traditional worship during the Gathering were so special. The highlight for me was Tuesday night of the conference when the traditional service included a choir of about 100 and multiple bag pipes all accompanying us as we sang "Amazing Grace"! From the teaching and workshops, there was a great emphasis on personal evangelism. We were reminded of the Great Commission and that our churches need to be all about reaching the lost. This was a great challenge and I am thinking about how to apply this with our youth, and look forward to applying this as a church in years to come.
I so enjoyed being at the conference with the Goldsteins, Mary Ann Edwards, Chris Leonard, and other pastors from South Carolina. People always are amazed to hear our story at RPC and some have similar stories of struggle, suffering, and the Lord's faithfulness. We felt your prayers and love there and it was a privilege to be there on your behalf!
Thank you so much.