On July 9th, a group of faithful Presbyterians from the Synods of Lincoln Trails (Illinois and Indiana) and of the Covenant assembled at the Geneva Center in Rochester, Indiana for the annual Covenant Gathering event. The intergenerational week of Christian formation is based upon the former Synod School format, and offered workshops, worship, music, fun, food, and fellowship. Through the gift of technology off-site participants were even able to join remotely in classes and worship. Guest collaborators included the Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson and Margaret Mwale of the Self- Development of People ministry and Lauren Rogers, a Ministry Engagement Advisor, all from PCUSA.
The theme of “re-create” was explored all week. Alonzo provided lessons on West African drumming and engaged youth of all ages to join him in the gift of accompaniment to songs. Margaret shared the gift of a special West African dish at supper one evening. Campers had a field trip to participate in a group exercise with congregations in Indianapolis with great takeaways on understanding our individual community resources and the relationship-building opportunities for churches. Our collaborators led us another day in looking deeper into the attributes of our own churches and the assets we as individuals contribute.
The youngest created their own drums, made animal masks, with guidance made bread for communion, and sang and danced, celebrating life. Teens were provided with their own special opportunities to gather for meaningful conversations. Artists of different ages designed individually styled beautiful paper quilt blocks based upon Biblical references.
This annual event provides an opportunity for learning from others, studying the Word, and building new friendships. Next year’s conference will begin on July 7, 2024.