10 Comments

  1. Kate

    Multicultural conferences are my favorite. I find being in the midst of a Pentecost experience profoundly moving. During those few days when cultures and gender, ethnicities and languages, generations and backgrounds are celebrated, we are able to see and hear from heaven’s perspective the world as God intended.
    We grapple with those things that we say are no longer issues in our society, yet we know in our hearts that the “not in my back yard” mentality has yet to be abolished. We converge with one common purpose: to stand at God’s door willing to invite all of God’s children in and willing to cross the threshold when invited.
    The conversations we have and the sermons we hear during the conference can be uncomfortable. They can be revealing. They allow us an opportunity to celebrate our successes. They inspire us to new heights. Sometimes they bring us face to face with a fellow child of God who steps on our toes. It is during each of those moments that we have the opportunity and the privilege to embrace who we are; the wonderful work that God created us to be. It is our imperfections after all, that give us character and make us stronger.
    I had the honor and the privilege of serving on the planning team for this year’s 2012 conference. After two long years of meetings and more meetings, hour-long conference calls, 12 drafts of the schedule, registration confusion and the heart breaking news of the Charlotte Presbytery staff losing their jobs (which made up 40% of our planning team) we birthed an amazing conference last week. The friendships that we made, the stumbling blocks that were conquered and laughter that was shared happened because God’s grace is sufficient. Not because any one member has special powers, a magic wand tucked away in their closet or because everything was perfect along the way. We learned to make sacrifices for the betterment of the group. We accepted each other differences. We were able to weave together a relationship that was strong enough to withstand the difficult times and because when things got difficult, we stopped and we prayed with each other.
    If you asked me two months ago, would I be on a planning team again I would have told you “NO WAY. It’s too much work”. But go ahead and ask me now. Nothing would stop me from saying yes. I have made some incredible, unexpected friendship in some unexpected ways that I will treasure forever. Friendship where we must be intentional about staying in contact with each other. I have drawn closer to my “Road Dogs” (my friends who have travelled across the country from conference to conference together).
    My passion for multicultural ministry is something in which I am fully vested. Some people don’t understand the depth of my passion but sit down with me for a little while and I’ll tell you about a man I know and his vision, he’s a good God.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you for taking the time to share these reflections, Kate. I especially appreciate that feeling of “NO WAY” that turned into “Nothing can stop me.” God is good! I also like how you say that it wasn’t any one person. Amen to that. That was the beauty of the effort–how each of us simply needed to be ourselves and do what we do well. When we gave each other room to do that, wonderful things happened–just like 1 Corinthians describes about the one body, many parts. It was so good to have an experience of that in full flourish. I will be ever thankful for the way you blessed this effort with your gifts and your loving, prophetic heart. So glad to think of future work and friendship together, too! Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  2. Michael shalosky

    Marsha,You are a superb writer..I am sure this was a GREAT conf..Thanks so much for your work..MGS

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you for reading, Mike, and for your comment. You and Susan would have enjoyed the conference! Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  3. nibs stroupe

    Great reflections as always, Marcia. It is such a pleasure to work with you and learn from you! Peace, Nibs

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      The feeling is mutual, Nibs. Thank you for giving your time to the team and to the PMN. Your voice and your witness are a great blessing to this movement. I look forward to our next event together at Montreat in November.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  4. Susan Steinberg

    Sounds like a truly transformative conference, Marcia. Thank you for these reflections. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there but your words open the door to the power and grace of this gathering!

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you for your comment, Susan. I do wish you could have been there. I know you would have loved it!
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  5. Andrea

    I so often feel isolated in my ways of understanding my privilege as a white person as so many feel that privilege is only defined by rich white men. I feel such a lack of comprehension when trying to explain why it pains me so when my race unintentionally causes pain in my relationships with people of color…as always you remind me I am not the only one who sees this painful reality in our world!! Love you!

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Andrea. You are right, because our culture hasn’t given us a lot of healthy ways to look critically and honestly at white privilege, trying to articulate it, trying to notice it and find healing can be very isolating and very painful. It is slow work and it takes being vulnerable to some difficult realizations. This work also creates opportunities for us to find more generous spaces for authentic relationships and profound growth and change. I know you have given a lot of yourself to this kind of work. Keep telling the truth and and honoring the beautiful potential in your own hopes and dreams within it all. So good to hear from you!
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply

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