The conference in St. Louis this week was helpful regarding setting the current context for the church --that was interestingly presented -- but not so great on ideas or practical suggestions about the church's future. That's understandable, of course, given the speakers'* thesis that we are 150 years into the next 500-year-cycle for the church.
Every 500 years the church holds a 'rummage sale,' so to speak, during which the accepted Authority is questioned and ultimately deposed. The Reformation 500 years ago set the Bible as our authority and now we're at the point where that's gone but the next Authority is not yet certain. Probably something around "spiritual experience."
Anyway, I'm glad I attended. It was interesting to see a stand-alone seminary. Wow. Eden has a wonderfully beautiful setting, like a small college campus. The total space for my seminary is just one over-crowded 3-story building on a university campus. Big difference.
Plus the three of us who attended had time to talk quite a lot about our church and come up with some good ideas regarding how to better open some space for people to experience God. Those conversations were fabulous and I'm grateful to Carol and Sue for their love for the church.
*The speakers were Phyllis Tickle and Diana Butler Bass. We also heard Geoffrey Black speak, but he kept his remarks focused on Eden and the $18 million it has recently received, and didn't say much at all about the United Church of Christ overall.