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CONSPIRE Opportunity comes to FPC

When did you first know God…God as the center of the universe? The center of the created world? The center of all being—including yours?

Did your awareness of this interconnectedness come as an adult, perhaps as a mountaintop moment? Or as a child, feeling deeply within that you were not alone, that something greater was with you?

Where were you when this awareness first came to you?

As I’ve shared with you in previous blogs, my recognition of the Spirit’s presence came when I was a young child, playing alone in the woods behind my family’s home. Suddenly, I just knew, as I sat on a rock watching a trickle of spring water flow from within the rocks into a small pool below me. I felt it—a presence that I was too young to name, but felt powerfully all the same.

I am not unique in this. Untold numbers of people experience God deeply through a connection to the natural world.

But your knowing may have come through another vehicle—through music. Through family or a friend. Through church or a retreat. It may have come in a moment of great joy or great sorrow in your life, in a time of peace or a time of turmoil.

As I grew older, I understood that the presence I felt in the woods was the God I learned about in Sunday school. Throughout the years, my awareness of the Holy Other has continued. But, like most (if not all) believers, I grew to understand that faith must be nurtured. That we must make a conscious decision, again and again, to grow our faith, to strengthen our spiritual connection with God.

Think about your own life as a follower of Jesus. I’m sure you can identify times when you felt his presence deeply, and times when you did not. Our day-to-day lives require a lot of us, and we don’t always feel we have the time or the energy or the discipline to do things to connect with God. Even doing nothing but sitting in silence for a few minutes can feel like a burden!

What practices do you rely upon? Prayer and meditation? Study and inspirational reading? Service and generosity?

If you’re like me, the practices you use on any given day may be different from what you use on others. What spoke to us a year ago may be quite different from what speaks to us today.

You are invited to learn some new ways of thinking about, growing and practicing your faith. On Friday, Sept. 24th through Sunday, Sept. 26th, our church will live stream the CONSPIRE Conference, led by Richard Rohr and sponsored by the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Many of our church members are familiar with Rohr’s teachings. Some receive daily readings from him. Some have read and studied his books. What he teaches is a different way of seeing and experiencing our faith—what he refers to as “alternative orthodoxy”—faith practices that emphasize individual spiritual growth, building community, and outreach.

This conference offers a combination of exceptional teaching and opportunities for practice and reflection. The theme of this year’s CONSPIRE conference is Me / Us / the World: Living Inside God’s Great Story. Participants will consider who we are—as individual people of faith, as a church, and as members of the global community—as well as what we do to both grow and give witness to our beliefs.

You can attend any or all of the presentations! Because the church is registered for the conference, your participation is free. People will be coming and going throughout the three days. You will find a description of the key presentations, along with a brief description of each teacher, elsewhere in this Friday email. I encourage you to also click here for more information on each day’s offerings, and the complete schedule for the event.

At this point, we plan to gather in the Friendship Room, where we should be able to socially distance. If our numbers are too large, we will move to the sanctuary.

I hope that you will prayerfully consider joining with your sisters and brothers in Christ all around the world for this event.

I pray that participation in this CONSPIRE conference will draw each one of us into deeper connection—between the head and the heart, between belief and practice, between our stories and God’s Great Story.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Lou Ann


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