Formerly known as Region 7 First Call Education renamed to Leadership Guild, unfortunately nicknamed "Baby Pastor School."
For the record, not all of us who attend this event are young or pastors. Some of us are second-, third-, or whatever career people, and not all are ordained. But we are all in our first three years of ministry, during which we attend this one-week event.
Last year's event was pretty much a big blur. It came straight on the heels of my ordination - I was by far the "youngest" pastor there. I pretty much showed up that Monday and walked around saying "Hi. I've been a pastor for about 24 hours now. I'm so exhausted."
This year, things had been changed for the better, and not just my level of consciousness. The previous year we shared in our feedback that there was too much sitting and not enough downtime, and egads! They listened! Not only did we learn about adaptive leadership from the great book Leadership on the Line, but we were offered different "tracks" to pursue so as to tailor our experience to help our context. Plus we learned a fairly helpful way to discuss problems and brought actual case studied from our congregations to discuss. The discussions we had at night with the bishops, including ours from NJ, Bishop Riley, were extraordinary. We "got up on the balcony" with them and they heard our hopes and our fears. PLUS I painted some pictures inspired by the 1 Corinthians reading of the upcoming week and did some yoga and a little reading. AND I got to see some old compadres from Luther seminary.
Worship, I think, was my favorite part. We were in this great flexible space and every time we worshiped it was in a slightly different configuration. Nothing too crazy, but it was fun to see how the worship planners shaped the space to fit the service - whether for Eucharist Holden Evening Prayer, or a healing service. We lit candles, wrote on rocks, prayed for one another's communities, learned new songs and sang some oldies from the ELW lead by some awesome guitarists and musicians. And we didn't almost light the place on fire, like we nearly did last year. :)
One of the many blessings that came out of this time was a sense of not being alone - we were all in widely diverse contexts, of course, but we were all working together in a common mission. And I now have a mentor, which I'm really excited about!
Well done, Region 7, well done.