L.E.A.D. 2015 draws 400+ for Music, Worship, & Workshops

Inspired and Energized with New Ideas

Written by Natalie Beglen
Photos courtesy of Jake Moomaw, McCormick Seminary

LEAD 2015 - worship - by Jake Moomaw

Singing and praising together

LEAD 2015 - John Bell - by Jake Moomaw

Rev. John Bell

LEAD 2015 - breakfast - by Jake Moomaw

Connecting and enjoying breakfast

Warming up their voices and centering their hearts and minds is how attendees at L.E.A.D. began their day on Saturday, March 7.

We will walk with God my brothers,
we will walk with God
We will walk with God my sisters,
we will walk with God
We will go rejoicing till the kingdom has come

Rev. John Bell, in his Scottish accent and dressed in bright orange accessories, connected participants through music and song and reminded all of the focus of the day.

Come all ye people, come and praise your maker.
Come now and worship the Lord.

The Worship Alive Team brought Rev. Bell to L.E.A.D. to inspire the 400+ who convened at Chicago Fourth, L.E.A.D.’s host site, for a day of learning and sharing ideas. This inspiration carried attendees through their morning and afternoon sessions. The 19- member L.E.A.D. planning team crafted a diverse schedule of over 2 dozen workshops conducted by local clergy, lay leaders, and faculty from McCormick. The variety of topics provided tools and resources for participants to bring back and communicate with their local congregations. In addition to the breakout sessions, there was time to connect and share ideas with others during breakfast and lunch and also browse the vendor tables, including the latest products by Ten Thousand Villages and Cokesbury.

Rev. Joy Douglas Strome, Chicago Lakeview, also provided inspiration through her sermon based on Numbers 6: 22-17. Attendees were encouraged to wear and flaunt the badge of blessing and not be plagued with mis-tags that some may try to attach.

Lisa Dagher, Vice President of Seminary Relations and Development at McCormick Theological Seminary, commented, “We enjoy partnering and collaborating with the Presbytery of Chicago on L.E.A.D. to continue the education process and help leaders cope with evolving and transforming churches.”

Rev. Bob Reynolds, Executive Presbyter at Presbytery of Chicago, told an analogy of the Presbytery as a cookie factory. In his story he shared that one may have the ingredients such as prayer, worship, faith, hope, pastors, youth, etc. however, these must be engaged (i.e. baked) to become the church. A process (i.e. recipe) is needed or the ‘cookies’ may be stale or hard. He challenged that perhaps a new recipe may be needed. Bob said, “L.E.A.D. allows us to re-examine practices and learn new ones to nurture and strengthen our churches.”

L.E.A.D. is a partnership between McCormick Seminary, Presbytery of Chicago and the host church to provide leadership, education, and development for the whole church. New this year was a collection for Soles4Soles. Rev. Grayson Van Camp, Western Springs, Moderator of the L.E.A.D. Planning Team, commented, “We are so grateful for the generous offering. An African proverb says, ‘When you pray, walk’; in other words take action as well as pray. We pray that through Soles4Soles many people will be able to enjoy education and work opportunities that were impossible without shoes.”

In addition to Grayson, a special thanks to the rest of the L.E.A.D. Planning Team: Rev. Wendy Boden, Glen Ellyn Southminster, Mr. Mark Bowman, Grace Lutheran Church, Evanston, Elder Doreen Sterba DeZur, La Grange First, Elder Sam Evans, McCormick Theological Seminary, Elder Kathy Gillmore, Grayslake Wildwood, Elder Loretta Gratias-Bremer, Western Springs, Elder Terry Jackson, Lombard Community, Elder Paul Jeziorski, Glen Ellyn Southminster, Elder Vernice Johnson-Warren, Park Forest Calvary United, Deacon Jean McLain, Itasca First, Ms. Stephanie Moore, McCormick Theological Seminary, Rev. Martha Ross-Mockaitis, Winnetka, Elder Jim Siegfried, Lansing, Ms. Cindy Stocker, Orland Park, Elder Brenda Taylor, Chicago Morgan Park, Elder James Van Camp, Western Springs, Rev. John Vest, Chicago Fourth and Elder Pat Wiedner, Glen Ellyn Southminster.

This article was originally published as the cover story of the April 2015 Our Common Ministry, the presbytery’s newsletter. Download the complete issue.

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