If you were not a participant at the Greater New Jersey Conference 2023 Mission u study retreat in July, you missed a wonderful two days of study, music and worship, combined with table talks and great food for faith-filled attendees. The July 14-15 retreat at Centenary University’s Lackland Center marked the return to in-person gatherings for the United Women in Faith’s annual mission education experience.
Living the Kin-dom: Part I offered an in-depth study of the Lord’s Prayer, that examined the iconic prayer as translated directly from Jesus’ Aramaic language. It combined reading the prayer in several translations with class discussions, journaling and hands-on activities to round out the classroom experience. Study leaders included Wilhelmina Jackson and Bernadette Cataline.
With Marilyn Powell serving as Mission u dean, the inspirational worship services featured music provided by the praise band from Trinity UMC of Hackettstown, under Leah Vondette’s direction. The Rev. Debbie Barnett began our exploration by asking what keeps us away from having a closer relationship with God?
The Rev. Erica Munoz provided a moving sermon on the power of the smallest of seeds, even a mustard seed. She led us to see our own role in helping to make the kin-dom of God a present reality. The plenary session challenged us to design our own kin-dom and then to respond to a community’s bias and hate-crime event.
Participants of the retreat made the following comments to survey questions:
What experience (or intentions) did you take away from the Mission u study:
- To use it at my Monday night Bible study.
- To share it with our community.
- To look at how I am using prayer.
What experience was gained from the plenary session?
- It was the most groundbreaking Christian experience I’ve ever had; I loved the practicality.
- It was great to talk to my neighbor about what I intend to do to build the kin-dom of God.
What was your favorite aspect of the class sessions?
- The Aramaic Lord’s Prayer translation
- The chance to have meaningful discussions.
Among the suggestions offered was a plea to “please bring back the three-day Mission u experience.”
Enjoy photos of Mission u 2023, an album provided by Lou Hyson.
Mission u 2024 is already in the early planning stage to continue with Living the Kin-dom: Part 2. We will further examine of Jesus’ life and ministry, including his parables, his Sermon on the Mount and his encounters with people in his community as they relate to the Lord’s Prayer.
Dates will be announced soon. Please plan to join us, and bring friends, church members and your youth for an inspiring time together with other believers in July 2024.
*Elizabeth Vaneekhoven, 2023 Mission u Assistant Dean, will serve as Dean of Mission u for 2024 & 2025.