Last week I spent three days at the Port-o-Call Hotel in Ocean City, NJ at our (English) district professional workers conference. It stood out as different from past conferences in a number of ways:
- I didn't have an ocean side room this year. There is a silver lining to that, though. We had more people (forty-two) register for the conference this year than any I've been to since coming to the English District. That's the upside to a balcony overlooking the parking lot.
- The main presenter, Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, was engaging and interesting as he talked about cultural changes and the consequent challenges for the church and ministry. Typically, the presentations are as exciting as watching paint dry. His humor, observations about the past and the present, and engaging conversation were great.
- I had great conversations with old friends I only see once or twice a year, with new workers in our region, and with the bishop himself. There is always a lot to catch up on, new challenges, new people to meet and some new opportunities for ministry.
- We drove to a local congregation for our worship one evening, rather than using the daily conference room. It turned out to be encouraging for that church as well as a good experience for us.
- The weather was absolutely gorgeous. The temperature dropped into the upper 40s at night, quite a difference from the daytime 90s I left behind in Florida.
Those of us who come up from Florida travel the longest distance to attend, but this year, it seemed worth it. Good job, organizers! We'll be back next year.