It is the most wonderful time of the year for your minister, as she prepares to leave for her annual preaching conference – Festival of Homiletics. Yes, some people attend music festivals, garlic festivals, and many other sorts of festivals, but your minister attends a preaching festival.
This festival is a learning, enriching and growing opportunity for all ministers and lay leaders from all over the world.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to attend this festival, either live or virtually, since 2013. It is one of the most powerful lifelong learning events that I attend each year. This year it is the thirty-first anniversary of this precious gathering, and the theme is: “Preaching Hope for a Weary World”
I want to share with you the words of Rev. Dr. Karoline M. Lewis, Program Director of the Festival of Homiletics: “Preaching Hope for a Weary World” is the Festival’s response to the hardships and heaviness that have been our reality the last few years.
From a pandemic, to protests, to politics, and polarization; from wars, to gun violence, and climate change catastrophes, what is our call to preach?
Surprisingly, in looking back over Festival themes there has never been a focus on hope. Yet, who better to name hope into our world than preachers?
We believe in a hope that defies all odds. A hope that speaks of new life amid death. A hope that reaches for justice amid inequity. A hope that knows the promise of God’s righteousness amid fear and despair.
The Festival of Homiletics 2023 will inspire us to a renewed sense of our radical calling.
Our weary world needs us, preachers. Hope wins.
Come renew, refresh, and recharge your spirit!
Beloved, truly, this is a weeklong nourishment for the mind, heart and soul that empowers me to come back to you and serve God through this Community of Faith, better than before.
Moreover, as soon as I return home, I will be attending the Annual General Meeting of our Regional Council, EOORC (May 26, 27). I also will lead worship and assist in every need as able at the gathering. Our speaker for the gathering is the UCC’s General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Michael Blair. The theme is “Courageous Communities”.
Beloved, there is so much we can do together, however, if we do not replenish our minds, hearts and souls with the Living Word of God, with our communities, the wider church and the global church, we will lack Courage, and Hope.
Please remember me in your prayers, as I travel to Montreal, Minneapolis, back to Montreal, back home, etc., etc. I promise to keep you in my heart and prayers, as always.
Would you bring a friend or two with you on May 21 and 28, as the worship leader at Grace United will be Rev. Kathy Walton, my colleague, and a wonderful mentor since 2009. She has also agreed to step in for all Pastoral Care needs.
Remember, attending Worship Celebration every Sunday should not be a big secret, but it should be a JOY to share with all. You do not want to keep a Good Thing a secret, would YOU? Invite, invite, invite… Offer a lift if you drive a car.
I cannot wait to return to the pulpit on June 4, and celebrate the 98th birthday of this United Church of ours and celebrate the entire month of June, as National Indigenous History Month.
Here is Rev. Walton’s contact info.: 613-329-6013 or by e-mail: email@example.com
I remain your spiritual leader
and God’s servant-daughter,
Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro
Incumbent minister – Grace United Church