For some of you readers on the west coast I know it is odd to you that I would choose to fly across the country to be at a place like this...so I want to write a bit about what Montreat is and how I ended up here.
Montreat is a town, a college...but known best to me, it is a conference center. I grew up coming to Montreat...
- first as a child with my parents attending Presbyterian Peacemaking Conferences,
- then as a youth for youth conferences,
- later as a college student working on summer staff as a camp counselor,
- now as an adult planning team leader for the youth conferences.
Montreat for me is a place of study - engaging scripture in keynote, worship and small group. Having theological conversations with anyone...everywhere.
Montreat for me is a place of recreation - climbing mountains, rock hopping, running, paddle boating, energizing (Presbyterian do these choreographed dances...ask me and I'll show you some time).
Montreat for me is a place of reunion - I run into people I know from all different stages of my life. People who have known me since I was a child and remind me that my faith roots run deep.
Montreat for me is a place of spiritual rest and renewal - I don't mean rest in terms of sleeping, but rest in the way that I breathe a little more deeply. I feel comfortable, at home, known and loved here.
Montreat can be a bubble... full of insider speech and connections. But at it's best, it is meant to be a safe haven, a sanctuary, a thin space where you feel closer to God and to each other.
West coasters, I hope to share Montreat a bit with you through this blog and maybe, EVEN MAYBE spark some interest in bringing some of you with me next time to experience God in this place. Participating in conferences at Montreat helps us remain connected to the larger church and learn more from each other.
This week, one thousand youth were brought together to explore the theme "rooted and reaching." Through keynote, small group, recreation and worship, we explored together what it means to be rooted in God's love so that we can reach out to others. I served on the planning team that has worked the last 2 years to create the conference. It's been a great way for me to give back to the place that has given so much to me. I prefer to serve the larger Christian church this way because I believe in the power of investing in the youth of our church and learning about God through them.
As I'm here and reflecting, I realize that I am rooted in this place. Throughout my life, the seeds of my faith have been nurtured and grown here. Coming to this place reminds me of my deep faith roots so that I can continue to reach out in love to others.