Do You Know Where You're Going?
2010 Convocation of Deaconesses, Home Missionaries and Home Missioners
The National Association of Deaconesses and Missionaries (NADAM), with assistance from the Women's Division Offices of Deaconess and Home Missioner Program, is gathering November 11–14 in Lake Junaluska, NC, for Convocation, a gathering of community members for community building, Bible study, identifying important issues in our ministries, sharing resources and refining then claiming our vision for the future of servant ministries. Convocation is similar to United Methodist Women's Assembly.
This year's theme is "Do You Know Where You're Going?" We will look at the journey and vision for our personal calling as a community and within the larger world. Resources for this journey include Inelda González, president of the Women's Division; Harriett Jane Olson, deputy general secretary of the Women's Division; and Lisa Archer, chairperson of the Committee on Deaconess Service and a Women's Division board member.
Mary Baker, who worked with the Women's Division visioning process, is also leading the Deaconess and Home Missioner community through a multi-year examination of what it means to be called by God to ministries of love, justice and service. Convocation will provide opportunities to discuss and commit to the new strategic plan, which will guide Deaconesses and Home Missioners in our new relationship with the Women's Division. These are exciting times. With large commissioning classes, we are seeing the fruition of the community's last visioning effort almost 15 years ago. With anticipation we await the strengthening of the community from the current plan.
Convocation is also a time to relax, catch up with friends and meet new friends. This year's Convocation will feature lighthearted gatherings and get-to-know you events.
One of the significant events during Convocation is the Celebration of Calling. This evening of worship lifts up the Deaconesses and Home Missioners who have joined the church triumphant since the previous gathering, which is followed by a celebration of retirees, of anniversaries and of those commissioned into the community and those candidates in process.
Deaconess Nazgul William, who participated in the praise band at Assembly, will be leading the music this year.
Workshops will be available with such titles as "How to Have a 'Public Witness'" and "How to Put Spirituality Back Into Your Twittered Life." Other sessions will offer insights and discussion about immigration reform, responsible energy usage and inclusivity in communities. Becky Dodson Louter, executive secretary of the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner Program, reports, "Leadership for the gathering is provided by Women's Division staff members and directors as well as by Deaconesses, Home Missioners and Home Missionaries. This team approach exemplifies the renewed relationship between the Women's Division and the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner Program."
Those gathering for the convocation are in for a time of physical, emotional and spiritual cleansing and renewal. The late autumn mountains of western North Carolina are the perfect place to seek a new vision.
Debbie Pittman is a United Methodist Deaconess