On a beautiful spring morning, 80 members of Lehigh Presbytery gathered for morning coffee and sweet treats in the Coop at Kirkwood Camp. Seeing old friends and meeting new, and for most this was the first time they had visited the camp since we partnered with Philadelphia Presbytery. A map was provided so they could find their way around the camp and see the special items brought from Brainerd to Kirkwood. Many were excited to see these familiar treasures. Following registration and welcome, attendees wandered up the path to Bob’s, a large building in the woods for morning worship.
As they walked, they could hear glorious music being performed by the jazz band from the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain in Delaware Water Gap. Meaningful worship was led by Rev. Kari Olson (Hope of Christ Presbyterian Church of Summit Hill) and assisted by Rev. R.C. Smith (College Hill Presbyterian Church of Easton). Recent Princeton graduate, Sabrina Slater, preached a powerful sermon announcing…. Birth Hurts, but there is Hope.
After the introduction of Phil Bergey, the consultant working with the Presbytery, the attendees broke out into groups to begin the rounds of discussion. First there were mixed groups and then the attendees came together in their church groups. Rev. Sue Wonderland (Synod of the Trinity), Rev. David Oyler (Lake Erie Presbytery), and Kate Sillman (Huntingdon Presbytery) helped facilitate the discussion groups.
Questions and topics were provided to each group and the information gathered during these discussions will be reviewed by the Expecting Hope Team to help them in their discernment process. The attendees then returned to Bob’s to hear from Phil Bergey (Consultant on this process) about the possibilities before us and how the team will determine our future. Phase 1 is now complete. Phase II will now begin as we test the models and determine what will serve the Presbytery well. This will help lead us into identifying and implementing a new model.
A delicious lunch was provided by Hope of Christ Presbyterian Church in Summit Hill. They served their famous meatball sandwiches along with a salad bar. A large variety of desserts were enjoyed by all.
Following lunch, everyone returned to Bob’s for closing worship which included communion. Attendees were encouraged to continue their time at the camp with a hike, a walk, or just to relax and enjoy the fresh air and surroundings.
A wonderful day of fellowship, inspiration, prayer, and encouragement was shared by all. The Presbytery members provided energy and encouragement to the Expecting Hope Team as they continue their hard work to determine where our future is.
All thirty Lehigh Presbytery churches received a puzzle piece to bring to the retreat. As members arrived at the registration table, they added their piece to the large puzzle. The picture started to emerge……depicting the mountains, valley, and river surrounding Lehigh Presbytery. They saw the dessert for our time of uncertainty and a beautiful sunrise for the hope we have for our future.
We are not complete without all thirty churches.