Here are a few things I've experienced over the past day:
- We got to hear Nancy Kehoe and Debbie Creamer again. Each left me with a significant quote -- Nancy: "To share a meal around the same table is a sign of equality. To break bread together is a sign of intimacy." Debbie: To have a lack of welcome in a place of faith communicates, ‘you aren’t welcome to God'" These two presenters have both enriched my knowledge of ministry with people with disabilities and mental illness, they have equipped me to do better.
- Geoffrey Black, President and General Minister of the United Church of Christ, spoke to the conference at lunch on Saturday. He was visibly moved by this gathering and inspired. He called our conference groundbreaking and issued a challenge, "It’s time to stop writing resolutions and instead to act and build on them!" (or something really close to that.) Geoffrey also said that he was going to tell all his Facebook friends about the event. (that made me chuckle and smile!) Finally he said that Widening the Welcome is more than a conference. He said that Widening the Welcome is a movement within the movement known as the United Church of Christ.
The conference may have ended, but Widening the Welcome is just beginning!
I'm preaching this morning at a join worship service of The Church of the Open Door and Brentwood Congregational United Church of Christ in St. Louis. After a church potluck (I love those!) and a planning meeting for what comes next with Widening the Welcome, (stay tuned!) I'm headed home.