In mid-November the 787 Collective gathered for a celebration dinner. Good food and conversations were shared and our congregations began submitting their proposals for the projects they will be starting in 2019! We interviewed two of our attendees who share their thoughts below.
Name: Betsy Appleton
Relationship to the Collective: Team leader for First English Lutheran Church.
Describe the event in three sentences or less: This was a celebration dinner to mark the “end of the beginning” of the work of the 787 Collective. Most groups are wrapping up their formal discernment processes at this point. We met to enjoy a meal, learn what shape others’ projects are taking, and celebrate the ways we will connect with 20somethings through the continuing work of the 787 Collective.
What did you notice during or about this event? I noticed that all of the projects described were unique, which is remarkable since we all followed a common process.
What impacted you the most? I was struck by how well the conversation prompts provided worked to facilitate more depth in conversations. Although I genuinely enjoy talking to people about Big Ideas, Wicked Problems, and the things that are meaningful in their lives I tend to be reticent and unable to ask questions that could be personal, out of fear of offending someone. This was well managed by the question prompts.
What impacted you the least? I was disappointed I didn’t get to try the delicious-looking vegetables I (gladly!) left for the non-meat/non-dairy eating folks to sample first.
What about this event struck you as spiritual and/or carried spiritual significance for you? As I noted above, I really enjoyed the conversations prompted by the questions we were given.
What new or next thing, if anything, did this experience inspire you to do/be/or try in the future? I realized through the dinner conversation that I have not taken much time these days for contemplation and prayer. It is easy for anyone to crowd out room for this sort of practice, and I need to carve out a bit more time for that.
Name: Evan Hearn
Relationship to the Collective: Young Adult Advisor
Describe the event in three sentences or less: Local congregation leaders, the leadership of the 787 Collective, and Young Adult Advisors came together for an evening. We broke bread, mingled, and listened as the congregation leaders shared their proposals for projects meant to improve their churches’ relationship with young adults in their communities.
What did you notice during or about this event? I noticed an incredible diversity among those in attendance. Men and women of different ages, races, and backgrounds found a common denominator in their calling to serve their communities. This shared calling was more powerful than these minor differences, and everyone had a smile and was open to conversation.
What impacted you the most? What particularly interested me was the diversity not just of those attending the event, but also of the project proposals that were shared. Each leadership team had clearly spent time soul-searching: they had reflected on their church’s relationship with young adults in the community, they had thought about how best to reach out to these young adults, and they had formulated clear means of doing so. Whether it was the organization of dinners with young adults – with the appropriately millennial name of “Sup” –, the invitation to participate in a day of silence and meditation, the plan to offer help with real-world skills to marginalized communities, or any other of the dozen proposals shared throughout the evening, each leadership team had something to offer which was appropriate for their community.
What about this event struck you as spiritual and/or carried spiritual significance for you? It’d be hard to say what didn’t strike me as spiritually significant about this event. To see such a diverse group of people coming together with such well thought out proposals, in a shared mission of spreading a message of unity, hope, and progress, was profoundly impactful. There is something inherently spiritual about a group of people coming together for a good cause, and this evening was a perfect example.
What new or next thing, if anything, did this experience inspire you to do/be/or try in the future? It’s always inspiring to see passionate people work towards a goal: for me, this event inspired me to try and be more creative with my own work, and to think about how I can reach out to others in different ways.
If you want to find out more about how the “In Our Words” series got started, click here.