About 70 participants (pictured below) from six GCI congregations in the Northwest gathered recently for the second annual commUNITY retreat held at the Christian Renewal Center in Silverton, Oregon.
The retreat’s theme of unity was anchored on Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21, “[My prayer is] that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” Participants renewed and deepened friendships, experienced spiritual growth through small group discussions and devotionals, and sang praises to the Lord. They were encouraged to reflect on the profound unity that is grounded in the unity that the Son has with his Father through the Spirit. Everyone shared how that kind of unity is reflected in one’s personal and congregational life.
Several members provided entertainment during a Talent/UnTalent Show. There was lip-synching of a song from the movie Frozen, a trio performed a Broadway number (see picture at right), there were stand-up comics, and flute and saxophone productions.
Dr. Brad Harper, professor of Bible and Theology at Multnomah University, presented a talk entitled “Christianity and Homosexuality: One Straight, Male, Evangelical Theologian’s Journey.” The talk addressed what it looks like for the church to love its gay neighbors in a biblical, Christological (incarnational), Trinitarian way. Participants appreciated Dr. Harper’s compassionate approach and described it as a thought-provoking and much-needed dialogue.