World Conference Reflections, Chapter 2

By Robert Thompson

Community of Christ World Conference is hard to put into words because it is a fusion of experiences: hugs; music; languages; smells; foods; press of people; emotions; sleep deprivation; small group meetings; business meetings; lunches; catch ups; special dinners; reading bulletins, all under the dome and the spire that reverently overarch the excitement of this mass of humanity.

Month after monthmany of us are busy building community in the small areas where we live and work... but by the second time that you lose your car in the massive carparksthat surround the Temple and Auditorium you cannot fail to realise that you are part of something huge, part of something that is world wide. During conference we were hosted by Charmaine and Tony Chavala-Smith who connected so deeply with many Australian at last Augusts National Gathering.

As I write this I am sitting in in my hotel room in Denmark, not far from the temporaryhome of Simon McIlroy and wife Bianca, who hale from Bendigo Australia. Tomorrow we spend a few days in Berlin staying with church member Sandy Gamet, and will share Sunday dinner with World Conference translator Eva Erickson and her family. We are so blessed by our world wide Community of Christ and one the many blessings is that we are wonderfully connected to each other. Conference brings us together in a profound way. Conference inspires you, it uplifts you and transforms you.

Whilst World Conference unites us together in one place from all around the globe it is also preparing us to go forth, it points you beyond the dome and the spire back into community and perhaps that is where Jan and I found the greatest blessing of our conference experience. Serendipitously we found ourselves journeying with Rick Sarre to our good friends Matt and Terry Naylor’s home in Kansas City one evening. Here we shared in healing community as we sat around the table sharing in the tears, laughter, reminiscing, reaching out to each other in friendship, grieving and clumsily making sense of life and God and our place here in this journey knowing we are important parts of this larger mass of people who struggle with life and the divine and our purpose.

This is for me the essence of World Conference, reaffirming our divine purpose to be the hands and feet of Christ wherever we go. To be in Community and be Community of Christ wherever God calls us to be....wherever we find ourselves to be.