"Our Church's Participation in Annual Meetings" by Nan Paget
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Recently our church has not participated as much in the two annual conventions as previously. That may be true of most of our churches. The annual Convention of North American Swedenborgian Churches, held in turn on the east coast, central states, west coast, and Canada, is the time when we get together to govern our church. We elect officers, pass resolutions, bylaws and budgets, and come together as a widespread family with young people to be introduced to our traditions. Workshops are held, on topics from the teachings of Swedenborg, to the Tao of Pooh, to Helen Keller's life. We also offer excursions to interesting local sites and attractions.
After our splendid First World-Wide Convention in London in 1970, I moved to Massachusetts, but after returning to California in 1986, I have attended most of our conventions, in St. Louis, Kitchener ONT, Urbana OH where our Urbana University is growing, Olds near Calgary, back to Massachusetts, Holland MI and a few other places. These conventions are always held near New Church Day at the end of June, or in early July which allows us to use college facilities.
The second annual meeting is PCA, the Pacific Coast Association, also just called Association. Last weekend in San Diego, I was the only lay delegate from San Francisco (Rev. Lana Sandahl was present as a member of the Board of Ministers).
Again, we held our business meeting, passed the budget, and voted in a newly organized church as a member of the Pacific Coast Association. The Church of the Southwest Desert is in an old trading post in Silver City, New Mexico, and is organized by Rev. Sky Paradise, who was ordained two years ago at our convention in Ontario, Canada.
I would hope to see more stress on both of our annual meetings in future. Those of us who have attended these meetings find them fun and valuable. If our ministers promote and encourage attendance in advance, it is very helpful. Also, there is a small stipend toward travel expenses, a budgeted amount to be divided equally among delegates from PCA. All our members get information from our monthly magazine, The Messenger, but a regular reminder and invitation from our minister would be even more powerful.
Convention 2009 will be held in Seattle at the end of June. We will be staying in the University of Washington's facilities, and it will be followed by a cruise to Alaska for those who wish it. My husband and I hope to take that cruise. A few more cabins may be available.
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