Last week, (August 22-27) Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, CO, served as a Church-wide learning center for over 300 registered to attend the ELCA Congregational Development Training Conference. This semiannual event is usually housed in a hotel, but Bethany opened its doors for this training that included several firsts.
There were an historic number of Mission Developer and leadership training “tracks” that included:
· African National New Start ministries
· Asian Ministries, New Starts—a first
· Churches starting Churches track
· Homeless and Justice ministries
· Latino/Latina ministries: REDIL (Ecumenical Network of Latino/Latina Church Development including ELCA, Episcopal, UCC and PCUSA leaders)
· Multicultural Urban New Starts
· Postmodern New Starts
· Prison Congregations of America
· Recovery Ministries—another first!
The training included a cohort from congregational leaders and Pastor Redevelopers in Redevelopment ministries from around the ELCA.
On Friday, August 25, there was a MISSIONAL LEADERSHIP DAY –A Day of Shared Gifts and Learning, where Pastors and other leaders from congregations around the greater Denver area participated in over 25 workshops. Worship at the end of that “Pentecost Day” included preaching by our own Bishop Jim Gonia and commissioning of the new Mission Developers and Redevelopers.
The weeklong training truly celebrated what it means to be “Christ’s Church, better together” in a multicultural, changing and exhilarating environment.