Third Time’s the Charm

They say the third time’s the charm. That seemed to be the case for this year’s 2024 North Carolina Synod Gathering.

You may recall that in 2019, the NC Synod Assembly passed a resolution that we would move to an every-other-year Assembly for official synod business during the odd years, but that starting in 2020 the even years would feature a Synod Gathering designed more for worship, fellowship, education, and inspiration for both lay and clergy leaders throughout the synod. The Gathering was to be three days instead of two like most Synod Assemblies, and it was intentionally arranged to be offered a la carte; i.e., you could register for the whole three days or for any combination of days or just a single day.

As you will remember, we had planned the first Gathering for 2020 and had advertised that we would begin registration in mid-March. We all know what happened between that early March announcement and March 15: COVID! There was no Gathering in 2020, despite all the hard work that had already gone into planning it.

Then as we were planning the 2022 Gathering, there was an unexpected January and February spike in COVID cases, and we decided that we were going to try an on-site Synod Gathering anyway. In 2022, all participants were required both to provide proof of COVID vaccination and to wear masks. It had been three years since the NC Synod had gathered in person, and while it was great to be together, we learned in 2022 that spreading out the Gathering with large group sessions at St. Andrew’s, P.E. Monroe, and the Chapel in addition to workshops in Rhyne was too much walking with not enough transition time for many of our participants. The big block party scheduled was also rained out at least as planned, and of course weather is always a hit-and-miss proposition.

Finally, we had the 2024 Synod Gathering this past weekend. We held all large group sessions in P.E. Monroe, which (if you brought a sweater) was much better. The weather turned out great. The block party on the Quad was a blast. Workshops were extra good. Keynoters were on point. Backdrops, sound, and screens were well-coordinated and helpful. Music and worship were well-planned and meaningful. The Morning Prayer led by The Dwelling, Lutheridge/Lutherock campaign kickoff vespers, and the LYO-led closing worship were inspirational. We were blessed! I’m so very grateful to all the volunteers, participants, staff, and particularly Pastor Danielle DeNise for the months of hard work she spent arranging all this.

We are stronger together—and we are more than enough in Christ and in community. Thanks be to God!

Note: The synod office is closed Monday, June 1, and Tuesday, June 2, to give this stellar staff a much-needed respite. Thanks for walking with us, or better yet, allowing us to walk with you!

Walking with you,

Tim signature
NC Synod Bishop

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