Irony

The folks I have considered my closest brothers and sisters in Christ in recent years, the Church of the Brethren, are in crisis.  Membership rolls are dropping, budgets are being slashed, and everyone has an opinion about why it’s happening.  I’m not writing here to add another opinion, though I have mine.  And besides, I really don’t have a dog in this fight, as denominations (in my book) are very secondary to the larger call of Christian brotherhood.

But I found this email interesting that I received from said Church of the Brethren.  You let me know if you find mixed messages in this email.  I’ll give you a photo montage of the place of meeting to help stimulate your imagination to see the mixed message.

The Church of the Brethren invites stewardship leaders to consider attending the “Steward Leaders in Changing Times” conference this November.

In the midst of challenge and change, congregational steward leaders are asked to provide answers and solutions. Plan now to attend:

“Steward Leaders in Changing Times”
Hilton Marco Island Resort, Florida
November 30 – December 3, 2009
The Ecumenical Stewardship Center, of which the Church
of the Brethren is a member, is sponsoring this event.

Hilton

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2 thoughts on “Irony

  1. I struggled with the cost involved in attending the Mennonite Church USA meeting in Columbus this year. It seemed like poor stewardship to me, though I went anyway. My church spent over a thousand dollars to send us as delegates. What’s the price tag involved in attending “Steward Leaders in Changing Times”?

  2. Kevin,

    Thanks for engaging in a response…sorry about my lateness back. Without being a total jerk about it, I think we need to seriously re-examine stewardship and the church’s presence in the world when we meet together.

    Some of my thoughts are related to hospitality. The CoB used to meet in church buildings at their Annual Meeting, with several thousand attending. Persons were taken into homes, farmland was opened up for camping, and it was a communal event. Granted, the shape of our society isn’t the same today as then, so it brings new challenges, but presently we’re renting expensive buildings and staying in Hyatts.

    I can’t really speak to whether the Mennonites think a little clearer on this, but it seems to be similar. I guess my simple question is this;

    “As people traditionally known to care about the simplicity aspect of discipleship, who have excelled at it over time, can’t we innovate? Use our imagination?”

    Cliff Kindy did that when the CoB met in Richmond, and it was a powerful example. We were warned of the danger of the transient homeless, and Cliff slept beside them in the park and experienced community. Again, I don’t think the solution is everyone sleeping in the park, but his story stands as an example of thoughtfulness and wisdom in the face of the passive “whatever” status quo.

    I don’t know how much “Steward Leaders” costs, but to have “In the midst of challenge and change” right next to “Hilton Marco Island Resort” is just stark.

    Nate

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