The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
"We are here despite differences in our historical backgrounds, our cultures, and our contexts. We are here as people made in the image of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ, baptized into God's church... All of us are children of God."
With those words Bishop Gaville opened the 2019 BKB Congregational Leadership Summit in Iringa this past Monday. With 22 participants from three different countries, the summit brought together pastoral leaders for a week of living with and learning from one another. Through presentations, discussions, and excursions, participants grew in their knowledge of challenges and opportunities faced by congregational leaders in each of their contexts. Participants were empowered to play the role of both teacher and learner as they strengthened the network of relationship that links churches and leaders in Tanzania, Germany, and the United States. Most importantly they were given an opportunity to deepen their love of God and their faith in Jesus Christ that unites us all.
Love and faith... This is at the heart of pastoral ministry, in specific, and the life of Christians in general. In his opening remarks, Bishop Gaville reminded participants of the new commandment found in John 13 to love one another, and grounded the conversations that followed in the love of God as found in Jesus Christ. "Love and faith are what powered the growth of the early church in ways that were both qualitative and quantitative," he said, "and they can do the same today."
When the summit draws to a close later this week and this disparate group of pastors return to their homes, the message of love and the encouragement of one another will go with them from this place. As it does, it will no doubt take root in the communities that they serve. In the meantime, you are invited to follow along online.
Mungu awabariki sana. God bless you all.
The Rev. Peter Harrits
Director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop