Search This Blog

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ridgecrest Reflections

I am posting from Ridgecrest NC.  Above is the group photo of our contingent from Pittsburgh minus a few folks. From Redeemer parish you can find Gale Wilson front and center in the red shirt, Don Bushyager is half way up the photo center right and next to him is Rege Turocy.  I (David Wilson) am center left at the top.  Kathy Bushyager was not present when the photo was shot. 

We are having a great time with much learning.  For me the morning Bible teachings by the Bishop of Singapore, Rennis Ponniah, and the plenary addresses by Dr. Ed Stetzer are worth gold.  Mary Hays' reflections follow below  

Wish you were here!” Haven’t you jotted that on a postcard sent back home from some wonderful destination? This week, I’m sending you a little more that a postcard – I am writingPittsburgh Advance from my room at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina, where we have just completed the first full day of the second Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America. Twenty-three clergy and lay leaders are representing you, including five youth delegates, some of whom are also a part of the first provincial-wide youth gathering, sponsored by the Young Anglicans Project. There are lots of other Pittsburgh folks here. 

Tonight over dinner, we talked about what we had heard and seen. Our conversation sparkled with new insights and fresh commitments. The theme of this Assembly is “Captivating Disciples, Multiplying Congregations and Transforming Communities.” These are things we’ve been working on together in our diocese; the Assembly promises to give us some great tools for this important work. You can follow all of the events and watch a live video stream of morning plenary sessions on the Anglican Church website. But I also wanted to give you an “up close and personal” picture of Assembly, so here are a few preliminary observations and comments from our delegates:

Bishop Rennis Ponniah of Singapore is leading Assembly through the book of Isaiah, giving us a fresh vision of God, the Church, and the times. “It was so exciting to hear the [Bible] teaching; Bishop Ponniah seems to be worshipping even as he taught,” said one delegate.

Ed Stetzer challenged us with his observation the most congregations are catering to consumers, not equipping disciples. Here are a few other things he said that particularly challenged us:
·         “The church is the engine for discipleship. The local congregation is a machine for making people who will be agents of transformation. Short of that they are merely people buying tickets to watch a performance.”

·         “When leaders don’t let their leaders do what God wants them to do, they are limiting God’s mission”

·         “We want our laity to pray, pay and get out of the way.” (Ouch!)

·         God has given all of us gifts and intends all of us to use them.

Todd Hunter shared the results of interviews with 6 current church planters, telling us what they had learned along the way. He commented that “obedience precedes understanding.” God often asks us to do particular things before we understand exactly why he is asking us to do them. As we obey, we begin to understand. He also reminded us that there is no perfect pattern for Church planting; therefore, we must be constantly listening to God and asking what He would have us do.

“What a joy it is to fellowship with a group of brothers and sisters from around the globe whose hope is found in the person of Jesus Christ,” one delegate commented, and another added how “wonderful to feel the spirit of oneness among us.” 

So when I say “wish you were here,” it’s more than just a cliché for a postcard. I wish that all of us might be challenged and encouraged to be a diocese that gets better and better at captivating disciples, multiplying congregations and transforming our communities.


  1. David,just wanted to say it was our pleasure to host you guys. Thanks for coming!

    Byron Hill
    Executive Director, LifeWay Conference Centers & Camps

    PS - Love your six pack logo...and I'm a Cowboy's fan!

  2. Byron

    Sorry to hear about the Cowboys thing -- we will keep you in prayer for your conversion to America's real team, the Pittsburgh Stillers!

    As for Ridgecrest - I have been coming to Ridgecrest over the years for various conferences/events ever since the mid 1980s; what a wonderful place it is. Every time we come something has been added or improved. You added the Mountain Laurel facility, the Johnson Springs facility and just now upgraded Spillman Auditorium making an already great place even better. And the staff are great too. It's nice to be in a Christian environment being ministered to by fellow believers. I look forward to coming to Ridgecrest again for the New Wineskins Conference for Global Mission next April.