CONFERENCE RECAP FROM JENNIFER SASSIN
Our 2018 Annual Conference was filled with the Holy Spirit's presence as attendees came together to discover “Unity…Oneness with God and Oneness with Others” from the vision of Julian of Norwich as presented by The Rev. Mary Earle and from stories in the Bible as brought to life by Sr. Carol Perry.
Mary’s sessions were deep and rich as she shared her understanding of Julian of Norwich and the “Oneing Love of God.” She took us through Julian’s visions and her meditation on God's eternal and all-embracing love, as expressed to us in the Passion of Christ. Along the way, Mary focused on God’s abiding love and that we are knit together (“knit and onyd” as Julian wrote) with the Trinity which makes us endlessly holy. She encouraged us to be intentional in making sacred space to be available to God because, as Julian wrote, God has a longing (love yearning) for us. Mary pointed out that Julian discerned that Christ is with us in the pain and that suffering is a place of encounter with God. Julian is inviting us to place all our hope in the unfolding of God’s grace and to see the good in all. Mary helped us understand that at the center of Julian’s, “All shall be well,” is a deepening of life with others and a deepening connection with God.
Carol kept us spellbound again this year as she shared her knowledge and wisdom regarding the story of Jonah which makes real the God who needs us; the stories of Joseph and the Prodigal Son to help us understand “bumps in the road” and God’s mercy and forgiveness; and the events associated with Ezekiel and Jeremiah, which led to the great “surprise” that God is present with us even in the darkness. Carol reminded us we have a God of love and forgiveness and that we have to rediscover this every day of our lives. She encouraged us to remember that, “If the Lord is there, how can we be discouraged?” We can end our prayers in union with God by saying, “And the Lord is there.”
Time for worship, skill building in workshops, reflection, and building friendships rounded out the conference time, all in the beauty and hospitality of Camp Allen.