Truly, the greatest of these is Love! We gathered for the first hybrid NA Annual Meeting that provided for the adventurous attendee who would dare travel to Wichita KS in the heat of the blazing sun and the cautious attendee making use of Zoom technology from the comfort of their own home. It was an awesome in-person gathering that featured great hospitality by both the host committee and staff of the Drury Hotel. Along with some interesting and informative workshops and short purposeful business sessions, the meeting featured three talks reflecting upon the theme from 1st Corinthians 13. Additionally, our beloved Rev. Dr. Ashley Cleere shared an insightful Congregational talk that reminded us of our heritage, but also challenged us to think big and outside the box to our future (a common theme for us visionaries).
Diana Butler Bass [Love of God] spoke to the Love of God intriguing us with notes on God’s desire to be in relationship with us. She dovetailed notes from her latest book, Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence (Paperback – March 8, 2022). Bass, born in 1959 is an American historian of Christianity and an advocate for progressive Christianity. She is currently an independent scholar who writes on American religion and culture, and the author of eleven books, many of which have won research or writing awards. Some of you may have read her books in seminary.
Valarie Kurr [Love of Neighbor] passionately spoke of our need to engage in the work of loving our neighbor in these trying times. Her pleas moved many to tears as she spoke of the harsh realities of our current cultural crisis in the U.S. She spoke of the need for revolutionary love. This is also very present on her website: https://valariekaur.com She shares, “This is a place for anyone who feels breathless. Your breathlessness is not a sign of your weakness; it is a sign of your bravery. It means that you are awake to what’s happening right now: The world is in transition. Out of this darkness, we have a chance to birth a new world — a healthy, multiracial, and sustainable future. But we need you to last. Your life matters. Your voice matters. You have a role to play. This is a place to nourish and equip you. Here you will find tools to practice revolutionary love — love for others, opponents, and ourselves — to transform the world around you and within you. It’s a practice that offers longevity, resilience, and joy. It begins with wonder.”
Mihee Kim-Kort [Love of Self] is a Princeton Theological Seminary alum, and is co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, Maryland along with her spouse Andrew Kort. “During her undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado in beautiful Boulder, she joined various Christian fellowship groups and majored in Religious Studies and English Literature. It was during this time, and then in seminary that she began to experience a shift from traditional evangelicalism to a progressive, inclusive faith focused on God’s Good News in the here and now as expressed through social justice.” https://www.ministrymatters.com/worship/author/mihee_kim_kort Kort reflected on this journey and reminded us attendees of the need to pay attention to ourselves in the mandate set up by Jesus: To love our neighbors as ourselves.
Sunday morning featured a short bus ride to Plymouth Congregational Church to worship with the members of both Plymouth and the other Annual Meeting host church, University Congregational Church. This service featured amazing music, singing, preaching and communion with 300 plus voices praising God.