Spiritual Preparation and Nourishment, August 2, 2016

    by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)

I’m delighted to be on board as Associate Conference Minister (KS-based) for Western District Conference. One of my ministry responsibilities is resourcing pastors and congregations. Believe it or not, there are already a number of wonderful resources available on the Mennonite Church USA website in preparation for Orlando 2017: Love Is a Verb. I encourage you to look up #MennoLove on the denominational website. One writer in particular challenges us to spiritually prepare for our time together well in advance.

Are you thinking about and praying for Orlando 2017 already? Retired minister, artist and peacemaker Leo Hartshorn is, and he hopes that you will too, in a multitude of ways. To that end, he’s created a guide entitled Love Is a Verb: A One-Year Spiritual Practices Resource. You will find a link to Hartshorn’s guide at:

http://mennoniteusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Love_Is_A_Verb_Spiritual_Practices_Resource_2016-17.pdf

The purpose of it is to “spiritually nourish and prepare” those who will attend our biennial MC USA Convention in Florida next summer. Love Is a Verb is divided into twelve sections, one for each month between now and July 2017. The first six sections for July through December reflect on various sections of 1 John with an emphasis on loving one another. The second half of the guide (for January through July) focuses on six major streams of spirituality. For those acquainted with Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water, these emphases will sound familiar: contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical, and incarnational spiritual streams. If you have not read Foster’s book, Hartshorn’s resource is a good summary. As we pray, reflect, and act in Christ-like ways, our faith will be strengthened and our spirits nourished. As we reflect on and practice diverse streams of spirituality, we may also be prepared to appreciate and love those who live out their authentic faith in ways different from our own. “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action” (1 John 3.18).

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