Building Bridges of Love

Pres. Women Synod Summer Conference, July 11-1, 2014, Chapman University, Orange

Pres. Women Synod Summer Conference, July 11-1, 2014, Chapman University, Orange

~112 women. 4 goals. 3 days. 5 plenary presentations. 11 workshops. 35 volunteer leaders. 17 mission displays. 1 Hawaiian Hula dance (to the tune of How Great Thou Art). 1 drama (Journey to the Circle with 10 women). 3 book reviews (Orphan Train and Radical Welcome). 2 films (Gun Violence Prevention: Faithful, Not Political and Grace in the Margins). 10 songs including my favorite The Summons (aka She Flies On). 3 original compositions: theme song Bridges of Love (Sylvia Karcher and Denis Smith) and two poems Walls, Beauty in Everyone (Cheryl Raine). Endless crafting, love, and learning. Many new and old bridges of love. That in a nutshell was the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Pacific and Hawaii Summer Conference, Building Bridges of Love: The River of Hope Flows On, July 11-13, 2014, Chapman University organized by 21 women on the Summer Conference Committee, 10 workshop leaders, and 4 PWS leaders.

I am so renewed with hope and inspired by the PWS conference that I wanted to share it with you all. Missions included: Africa Team Ministries, Angel Interfaith Network, Glad Tidings India, Mary Magdalene Project, Pravaham/On Fire, Pal Craftaid, PW Global Exchange, Presbyterian Coffee Project/Equal Exchange, Mujeres Hispanas Presbyterianas, Valley Housing Partners, Red tent Gathering, Rising Tide, Power 4 Youth, Menaul School, Third World Handarts and Prayer Shawl Ministry. I have to find out how many shawls were knitted by the knitters over 3 days :). Some mission books reviewed/recommended include an old favorite of ours: Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert: When Helping Hurts: How To Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor, Your Church and Yourself; Molly, Henry and David Griest’s Under the North Star (a true story of the experiences of a missionary couple in Alaska); and Gregory Boyle’s Tattoos of the Heart (Homeboy Industries, LA).

Beth Patton and Cheryl Raine were the two plenary speakers. They used the metaphor of building a bridge. Beth shared the four goals for our three days together: 1) Ignite a renewed commitment within us that all humanity is created in the image of God; 2) Building bridges of love is an intentional ministry;3) Building bridges of love is a continual journey, not a destination, a video, not a snapshot; and 4) As we build bridges of love we will be reshaped in Christ’s image, growing in ways we haven’t imagined, becoming the person God created us to be. My notes on the theme of Building Bridges of Love (plenary sessions) are on Eyes on Christ. I will be posting my notes from the workshops I attended – With Mind and Spirit: Bridging Between Psychology and Spirituality; and Conflict As A Bridge Builder. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures below. The closing worship service with communion in the striking chapel was powerfully beautiful as I enjoyed hearing Sue use different languages when she blessed the communion sacraments. Wide-ranging Scripture readings from Genesis to Revelation with pauses at Isaiah, John, and Romans and visual symbols like the model bridge and the conference keepsakes helped to make the learning fun and memorable.

Thanks to the Summer Conference Committee, PWS leaders and the PW women. You have blessed me.