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VEV conference

I probably have a couple more posts about the McLaren conference. I'm in this serious mode of processing right now. It seems like I hit some conferences at just the right time in my life.

Because it is so fresh in my mind and I am working on processing it, and I process through writing, I'm going to jump ahead in time and talk about the Volunteers exploring vocation conference I just attended at Princeton. It was a conference put on by the Fund for Theological Education to encourage young adults who are in mission to consider going to seminary at some point. I think it also served as a way for young adults from different traditions who are in jobs like mine to connect. I met some amazing Mennonites, Presbyterians, Church of the Brethren folk among others.

I also got to hang out with some other UMCers... case in point. Here are 4 of the 5 of us standing outside of Magnolia Bakery. I am not certain you can be a UMC young adult missionary unless you have a strong desire to visit Magnolia when you are within 10 blocks.

So then we've got a picture of me with Adam in Salt Lake City. We are the 2 US-2s that blog with some regularity so we thought it fitting to get a picture together. We met up on the plane as he sat a row behind me. It is kind of funny to know someone solely through their blog, so I wasn't sure it was actually him. Finally we established the existence of each other and both had our headphones on fast to try to drown out the screaming 2 year old 2 rows ahead of me.

It was good to have a travel companion while navigating the NJ Transit system and the Princeton campus that lacked street signs. We were late, but we met up with a girl named Emily at Princeton Junction, so we didn't feel it mattered too much.

Adam brings a huge amount of joy anywhere he goes, so it was good times when he was around. This is me filling space now as I told him I would write 3 paragraphs about him. Hrm. Let's see. We talked about Mountain TOP some, and the state of his class of US-2s. And other things. Adam's a cool guy, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

So after a long journey, we hit the ground running. Wednesday night we spent some time talking in small groups and in a large group about everything that was going to happen. We also introduced our programs and ourselves which was fun. There are some amazing young people doing amazing things across the country.

Thursday was NYC day. We started off early, catching the 9ish am train in and we were at Holy Apostles Episcopal church which runs the largest soup kitchen in the city. If only every church would remove their pews in order to have space to serve food to the poor... then we ran up and got cupcakes and made it up to Union to listen to another Episcopal priest and a guy who makes documentaries talk about seminary and about life. From there, we took a walking tour of west Harlem, (basically really close to the General Board of Global Ministries so I know the area well). And then tried to get taxis to get up to St. Crispin's friary.

This is where we went wrong. Apparently, you cannot get a taxi at 4 pm to the South Bronx. It only took us 15 minutes, but that is a heck of a long time to try to get a taxi. We then prayed the Hours with some amazing Friars who are mendicants. They served us dinner (an amazing act of humility for men who rely on begging and donations to survive). Then the group split up. Some of us ended up at a jazz showcase, some went home, some had an interesting experience on a ferry, others went to times square then straight home. I of course hung out in the village and listened to some jazz. We laughed a ton, and walked back to the subway in the pouring rain. It was awesome.

Friday we heard from different people in ministry and spoke with some seminary reps. It set my mind at ease about going to seminary eventually so that was a very good thing. In the afternoon we had free time, which was much needed. We also had an amazing worship service that I was blown away by that night. Candlelit, sharing with each other in the form of a ritual of witness, and blessing each other with a rememberance of baptism. I won't soon forget the music, some taize done differently, some African spirituals, it was simply amazing and a blessing.

Some of us went out and walked around Princeton afterwards, which was a whole lot of fun and kept us entertained. We stayed up talking until late about life, trials of being in service among other things. Hearing the stories is an amazingly powerful thing.

Saturday was all about reflection and a difficult journey for me to get back here. At first, I thought I was going to get stuck in Atlanta, but then they switched my flight for me, and then wouldn't let me on my plane. God was good and I managed to make it home 2 hours before I was supposed to be back, but it was a difficult experience with some frustrated airline workers and me in my exhausted state. Thankfully, I made it home.

This week is busy again, but busy here in town and not anything out of the ordinary really. We're asking for money from the United Way this week, so prayers are appreciated on Tuesday morning. It will be a task for me to get back in the groove of things, and even though it was a busy weekend, it was one where I truly felt the blessing of God upon my life.
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hmm...I don't know if the middle paragraph counts since my name isn't explicitly in the paragraph. Well, i guess I'll let it slide...

By Blogger Adam, at 6:06 PM  

Laura...I was a US-2 from 98-2000 and a MIRYAP in 2002-2003. I am glad you are documenting this experience. Keep faithful to your blog...you will want to remember this experience for the rest of your life. I have bookmarked you. Check out my site if you got time.

By Blogger ~c., at 9:27 PM  

What is taize done differently?

Pastor Rob

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:37 PM  

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