Registration now open for ‘provocative’ all-UCC summit
Registration is now open for a major United Church of Christ summit “to imagine a church alive and vital in the world.” It will be held Sept. 19-21, online and in-person in St. Louis.
People can visit this page to learn all about — and register for — “The Space Between: The Emerging Church in a Post-Pandemic World.”
Playful interaction will be a hallmark of the summit, said its convener, the Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president.
“We are intentionally avoiding the use of keynoters for this summit,” he said. “We want the entire event to suggest both in content and design that everyone who enters the space has something important to contribute. We are not asking a handful of experts to teach a largely passive audience how things are to be done.”
The early registration fee, through July 14, is $150. Thereafter it’s $180. In-person participants must register by Aug. 19; online participants, by Aug. 28. Limited financial assistance is available; details are at the event page. For in-person participants, information on lodging and ground transportation is here.
The event page now provides the flow of the agenda. It lists opening and closing “provocations” and two “Shake-Up Series” with more “provocateurs,” listed here. The agenda also includes “unconference” conversations, “topic-focused confabs” and time for worship.
The summit will address, as a launching point, how the church has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a description at the event page, it will ask questions like these:
- What did we learn when faced with the need to pivot quickly and still be effectively present as church?
- Where do we need to stretch ourselves?
- What and how do we need to build capacity to resource how we’re evolving as church?
- What might we each offer?
“These and other questions will be contemplated as we lean in to lessons learned about adapting with agility, and unpack potential possibility,” it says.
‘Unfolding of a future’
Dorhauer said the event will feature speakers “who have both proven they can create something new and proven they can coach that out of others.”
“We have invited them less to lecture than to provoke – to entice out of the participants something they carry inside of them that can contribute to an unfolding of a future wherein the church flourishes,” he said.
“We have given them no instructions that would limit in any way their content, asking them to let their imaginations be fully at play and trusting their reputations as agents of the church’s vitality.”
‘Create something new’
He noted that the provocateurs include “seminary presidents and professors, directors of ecumenical offices and church growth agencies, pastors of churches large and small.” All, he said, are “lined up to bear witness to the power of creative thinking aligned with the movement of the Holy Spirit and willing to take the risk and either reap the rewards or learn from the failure.”
Dorhauer said he hopes participants “will less be instructed” by the speakers “than they will be inspired by them. And then they will be invited to engage in the kind of dialogue that takes their own imaginations seriously.
“Together, we will declare our commitment in partnership with the Holy Spirit and at play with one another to imagine a church alive and vital in the world, offering the love of God to all in the hope that it will change their lives and help build the beloved community.”
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