Friday, November 12, 2010

Kansas City - Church of the Resurrection

Back in October, seven of us from Trinity UMC flew to Kansas City and then drove to Leewood (could be Leawood), Kansas for the Leadership Institute '10 at the Church of the Resurrection. Wow!! It was a great conference - but it was so much more than a conference to me. This is going to be a crazy mixed-up post because I loaded pictures from two different computers. We flew to Kansas after work on a Wednesday and arrived at our hotel around 10:00 p.m. I had made all of the flight and hotel reservations for our group and everything had been just fine . . .until I opened the door to my room. The room had not been cleaned since the previous guests had vacated. I went back to the lobby and much to my dismay found out that the housecleaning staff had gone home for the evening and the hotel was sold out. As I laid my head on the cool granite counter, the lady behind the counter realized how tired I was. She offered me a bottle of water and a seat on the coach in the lobby . . .somehow they found a room for me. It was a nice clean room with giant FEATHER pillows (yes, I'm allergic to feather pillows) so do you see that little pile of blue toward the headboard? That is my blue jean jacket all rolled up into a ball . . .and for three nights, that was my pillow!! It made a great pillow except for the metal rivets (or whatever you call those things!!)

We got up bright and early the next morning and the conference provided breakfast for us in our hotel. I actually ate instant oatmeal in my room that morning because I was running sort of late. (I know you don't care about that detail but I stuck it in anyway!) Our hotel was only about 10 or 15 minutes away from the church so we all piled into our rental van and drove over and registered. Thursday (the first day) was pre-institute and we attended two half day classes. They were very good and I feel like I really learned a lot. I will tell you that no matter how much padding you have on your behind . . .4 hours in a folding chair will just about kill you!! All of our meals were served in these giant white tents and they had meal service down to a fine art. Our first lunch was chick fil a box lunches and they were yummy (as chick fil a always is!) Look at that gorgeous Kansas sky. They were having really warm and sunny weather for October in Kansas. It was over 80 degrees!!

Right after lunch, I went to their lovely prayer chapel. I didn't take a picture because it was such a sacred space. There was someone already praying in the chapel and I didn't want to disturb her with my camera. Later I found out that she was praying for me during that same exact time. They arranged for church members to take turns in the chapel praying for the attendees. She was in there praying for me when I went in to pray for my family and some other concerns. This was my first God moment of the trip.
My second four hour session was in this room. It was a gorgeous light filled room with much more comfortable seats. The afternoon session was not as engaging as the morning session. It was good and informative but the speaker had a very soothing voice . . .and we had just eaten lunch. Understand?

They served Kansas City BBQ for dinner and I really loved the baked beans. They were a little different than our southern baked beans but delish. After dinner, we had a giant combined session with everyone and Adam Hamilton was the speaker. I couldn't get a clear picture of him and was disappointed. He is God's man. He planted this church about 20 years ago for the United Methodist Church. They met in a funeral home!! (hence, the name Church of the RESURRECTION!!) Their mission is to reach the unchurched and nominally churched and they are doing a great job for God. We've used lots of his literature in our John Wesley class and also in our young adult study. It was so neat seeing him in person after watching him on a DVD for so long. When we were walking to our van that night, Andy asked me, "Well, Lisa, what did you think?" I laughed and said, "I'm not going to say anything because I might embarass myself." I thought he was definitely as good in person. He is one of those preachers that can talk for 90 minutes and you don't realize how long he has been talking. I wonder how much time he spends in prayer each day?

After that session, we drove back to the hotel. Earlier in the day, I had seen a former choir director who is now in San Antonio, Texas. We met up in the lobby and spent an hour or so getting reacquainted and catching up on the news about our spouses and kids. That is one of the things that I love so much about the United Methodist Church - the connectional aspect. (more about that later).
The next day's format was a little different. We had more giant sessions - we listened to a futurist (which was amazing to me) and we heard one of the head honchos from Hallmark speak. Then we attended some break-out sessions. I went to one on prayer ministry (which I do at Trinity) and got some great ideas. They made all hand-outs and literature available on their website so that we could print it out when we got home. Drew and I also attended a workshop on making a good facilitator into a great facilitator. Both of those workshops (prayer and facilitator) are very applicable to what I do. I loved "hearing" that we are doing many things well and I also loved "hearing" about some areas where I can personally grow and also help ministry grow. We had boxed lunches for lunch - mine was a buffalo chicken wrap and they served Mexican food for dinner and it was different from our Alabama kind. It was sort of like pot roast cooked in Mexican spices. Good but different.
There were breaks between all of the sessions and I met an interesting lady - we were both standing outside soaking up some sunshine. She lives on a ranch so it was so interesting to talk with her. I asked her if she had children and all of a sudden, big tears started rolling down her face. One of her children died this last year - I don't know any of the details (I didn't ask - I just listened). I was blown away by God's grace that she was able to stand and chat about her ranch and Alabama and Arkansas . . .God gives us amazing strength, doesn't he?
Here are some pictures from around the church/conference. They have several spaces throughout their campus where you can sit down and pray. This was a beautiful spot.
This is another shot of the chapel where I attended my second session (the light filled room). There was light from the back of the room and light behind the cross and look in the top corner - there is light coming in from the ceiling.

This shot is for the girls at work. They have a gravel walkway and all along the walkway are wonderful picnic tables. We are always wanting to eat outside at work and would love to have one picnic table. I imagine their staff eats outside often (when it is not snowing!!)

There are waterfalls and green spaces all over their campus which is nice. You can't see it, but the prayer chapel is in that little jutted out space of the building toward the middle/right of the picture. The buildings and facilities remind me of a small junior college campus - not a normal church facility. You can see more of those blue skies!!!

A slightly different view.

This is one of my favorite parts of the trip. On the second day, we picked up our box lunches and started looking for a table. There were thousands of people there and we were trying to sit together if possible (always a good way to debrief and just chat). I saw a table over near the back wall of the tent with several seats available and headed that way. I walked up to the table and said, "may we sit with y'all?" The lady looked at me and said, "You are from Alabama, aren't you?" Well, we chatted and visited with our new friends from Oklahoma and within 10 minutes, realized a major connection. I know her sister, Jeannie, who lives in Rainbow City, Alabama - we've worked Emmaus walks together. Not only that, but her niece has been visiting Trinity UMC (my church) and I had just emailed with her the day before we left for Kansas City. I know I'm not doing a good job of describing the awe and wonder we both felt that day. It was truly a "God moment." One of her church members had a camera with them and whipped it out and took our picture. (not the best picture of me, but ignore that and remember it was a God moment).

Our trip to Church of the Resurrection was great! I hope that I get to go again some day.

1 comment:

  1. My mom is highly allergic to feathers too. She spent two weeks in agony trying to figure out what was causing her such terrible symptoms and finally realising her new pillow had feathers. LOL

    Have a good week.