If COVID gave us one thing, it was the ability to effectively meet across the country through technology. It has opened doors to meeting people and working together that previously had been under-used. For those of us who have been seeking to hear the Spirit’s leading in developing our new home – Living Stones – zoom has been an invaluable tool. For almost than two years we have seen each other in little boxes on our screens as we talked and prayed listening for the Lord’s guidance. For a further two years before that, many of the steering council members were part of Ancient Hope which laid the groundwork for what became Living Stones.
As wonderful as it has been to meet one another this way, it is never a complete replacement for meeting face-to-face. The Living Stones Steering Council had this opportunity for 2 days March 28-30 at the Liebenzell Canada Retreat Centre outside of Guelph ON. What a blessing to finally meet one another after getting to know one another online! Some of us learned that our perception of someone’s height on zoom was very skewed when all we can see is a person from the shoulders up!
We began the first evening with an amazing meal provided by our Arabic brothers and sisters. We had leftovers galore and were in culinary heaven. I can’t wait for the kingdom when we can eat from so many traditions. The next day we were further blessed with 2 huge meals of chilli and slow-cooked ribs from another of the steering council with a hidden talent for feeding large groups. Glynis Faith filled us up with snacks and desserts in between all our incredible meals.
While it seemed that we were always eating, we did have excellent times of discussion on a number of issues that we are wrestling through for our new church home. We talked about bylaws and charitable status; welcoming covenant partners and congregations into Living Stones; leadership development and ordination among other things. The chance to speak in person enriched our conversations immensely.
Because we had 8 of the 9 official Living Stones members present, we were able to have our first AGM in adherence to our status as an incorporated society. The current steering council was appointed to continue their work until the 2024 AGM.
Interspersed in our time was fun and games that helped us to get to know one another beyond just discussing important issues. Who do you think had a grandfather in the Nazi youth, or who raced dirt bikes in their youth or has traveled to over 70 countries? We learned all this and more. More than one of us at the end of the time together said that laughter was one of the best things we had experienced at this retreat.
Our deepest thanks to God for bringing us together and to Mark Outerbridge and Liebenzell Mission of Canada for allowing us the use of their beautiful facility. This was just a taste of what we look forward to when Living Stones is established enough to have our first National Engagement Conference.
Shannon Bell – Chair,
Living Stones Steering Council
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