What a lovely event this was, the Rocky Mountain Conference, a regional conference for the United Church of Christ. It is an annual meeting, this year being the 37th convening. There were about 160 people that attended. Ministers. Delegates. Lay people. The theme was “Life is Different Now.” I was invited by my friends Erin Gilmore and Glen Brown to meet with Conference Minister, Tom Rehling. All of us together, imagined and designed a 2.5 day format that supports some of the imaginings of “new church.”
There are several things that I loved about this gathering. One, working with Erin, Glen, and Tom. They are each and all brilliant, clear, open, courageous, creative, purposeful. Two, the participants. Stellar. Welcoming. Inviting. Enthusiastic. Three, this is an example of deliberately evolving the large conference format to be highly participative. It often requires more letting go. It invites more trust and welcome of the people in the room. It was a courageous call, particularly from Tom. He and his staff were the ones that fielded questions and concerns about shifting format. In the end it feels simple. But it takes commitment to get there. There was much appreciation, many “best ever” comments from participants. Appreciation for the feeling of retreat. Welcome of the aliveness from being designed to support a next level of wellness and wholeness.
Below are several links to helpful and important resources.
Slide show with a few of the photos I took (5 minutes). With credits to Ben Lee and his song, “We’re All in This Together.” Buy it. I did.
The same photo set on Flickr, as used in the above slide show.
Landscape map photos on Flickr, a few that I drew to show some of our design and content.
Haiku harvest video (from Open Space, to go along the harvest forms posted here)
Invitations Teasers (a few that I created to send after the original invitation)
UCC Newsletter Followup (from Tom Rehling sent to UCC community)
Video Reflections, Hopes, Testimonies (Interviews from Chance Percival)