Written by Connie Larkman
Attendees, representing the 359 CHHSM communities and programs, focused their time on the theme, "The Church We Live In: UCC Beliefs and Diakonal Ministry."
Keynoting the event were the Rev. Felix Carrión, coordinator of the UCC's Stillspeaking Ministry; the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of the UCC's Local Church Ministries; and the Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, a CHHSM member and pastor of St. John's UCC in St. Louis.
Carrión inspired the audience in a presentation on the UCC's dedication to extravagant welcome, and the ways in which CHHSM groups can become involved in the Stillspeaking movement. The presentation sparked discussion among the CHHSM members about the level of extravagant welcome in their own organizations.
In discussing the UCC core value of changing lives, Guess reminded the audience that change can grow out of even life's everyday occurrences.
"Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message," said Guess, referencing a quote by Malcolm Muggeridge.
Wilson, the guest preacher, examined Mark 2:1-12 in his sermon, "A Hole in the Roof." In it, he called on leaders to look at infrastructure breakdowns or literal holes in the roof as intentional interventions from God and opportunities to testify.
Audio recordings of the featured speakers are available below.