The annual conference Power in the Spirit took place just last week on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem from July 12-14. Together attendees from across the state gathered to explore what it means to be Walking in Newness of Life as God’s baptized people. Through worship, Bible study, keynote addresses, workshops, and fellowship attendees dove into the mysteries and promises of baptism.
This year attendees had the opportunity to hear from The Rev. Dr. Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, who served as the keynote presenter for the weekend. Dr. Wilson is an ELCA pastor and a world-class scholar who often works in ecumenical dialogues with Pentecostal partners. She is also the former editor of the quarterly Lutheran Forum and an author of many books and articles. In August Dr. Wilson her husband, Dr. Andrew L. Wilson, and their son Zeke will depart for Japan. There she will serve as pastor to the English-language congregation at Tokyo Lutheran Church and Andrew will teach at Japan Lutheran College and Seminary.
The Bible study leader was The Rev. Dr. Mark Allan Powell, Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and an internationally-known biblical scholar. His many books include the widely used textbook, Introducing the New Testament (Baker Academic).
Both Dr. Wilson and Dr. Powell wonderfully guided participants as they closely examined what it means in scripture and study to be Walking in Newness of Life. Dr. Wilson shared themes of holiness and saints in her addresses while Dr. Powell guided attendees through reflections on the presence and absence of Jesus with his followers—in the first century and today.
Worship and Installation
During the event, worship was led by a number of Virginia Synod rostered ministers, including Pastor Colleen Montgomery, Pastor Anna Havron, and Bishop Humphrey. Gathering for worship also provided the opportunity to rejoice at the installation of the Rev. John Wertz as the Virginia Synod’s new Director of Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop, and the Rev. Dr. Dave Delaney as Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
There were also opportunities for attendees at Power in the Spirit to join in worship as part of the Conference Choir. Directed by George Donovan, the Power in the Spirit Conference Choir shared messages in song for the Thursday evening and Saturday closing worship gatherings.
Sally Moore & the Saint Peter’s Praise Band of St. Peter’s Lutheran in Stafford. was present as well and provided worship music for the contemporary worship services. The group is made at Power in the Spirit. The band is made up of singers, a drummer, a flute, sax, and piano who together performed upbeat and worshipful music for this year’s event.
Kids are Welcome!
Power in the Spirit is an event for all ages, and this year’s kid participants got to take part in special activities just for them, reading stories, making crafts, and having their own biblical focus during the event. This portion of power in the Spirit was led by Renee Durieux of Peace Lutheran Church, Charlottesville. Children were also invited to several of the adult workshops, where they had the opportunity to learn how to make bread to be served at communion and remember and celebrate their baptismal anniversary each year.
Mission Projects & Workshops
This year’s Power in the Spirit supported two services projects, Habitat for Humanity and Recess Support for Minnick Schools! Pastor Paul Henrickson led the Habitat for Humanity service project which took attendees on a work excursion to a Roanoke area Habitat build, to help construct a house! It was a great way for folks wanting to get out into the Roanoke community and give back as they were able to folks in need, putting God’s love into action.
Recess Support for Minnick Schools was led by Pastor Harvey Atkinson of Mount Rogers Parish. This service project was supported by attendees of Power in the Spirit who donated a variety of play equipment for their students to use indoors and outdoors during recess time. Monetary donations given will be used for larger items such as freestanding basketball hoops and volleyball nets as well as helping to build a playground at their newest school in Bristol.
Minnick Schools, the Educational Division of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, are private day schools serving students ages 5-22 with emotional and developmental disabilities who have not been successful in a traditional public -school setting. Located in Bristol, Wise, Wytheville, Roanoke, and Harrisonburg, LFSVA Minnick Schools served 249 students last year from 35 school districts. You can learn more about these schools by going to www.lfsva.org
Workshops during this year’s Power in the Spirit nurtured and challenged attendees as they reflected on the life that flows from the font and out into the world. This year workshops offered attendees a wide variety of opportunities including hearing from Bishop Humphrey who asked “What does it mean to build bridges?”, learning about Biblical storytelling, becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation or individual, making use of social media to congregate digitally with the Synod’s Director of Communications Emily Pilat, Getting to Know the Lutheran Saints with Dr. Wilson, and so much more. With workshops for every age and interests, there were opportunities to learn and grow for everyone in attendance this year at Power in the Spirit.
Save the Date for next year: July 11-13, 2019
Our 2019 keynote speaker will be Dr. Dawn Rundman, developer of faith formation resources for Sparkhouse and Augsburg Fortress. Our Bible Study leader will be the Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson of Luther Seminary, returning to Power in the Spirit as one of our most popular presenters. Music will be led by the much-in-demand Jonathan Rundman, who returns to Power in the Spirit–this time with the Rundman Quartet: Jonathan, Dawn, and their children Paavo and Svea!