by Bonnie Home, Almaden Hills UMW
It isn’t often that the author of our Mission u’s “Leaders Guide” comes to lead that very study for us! So when we gathered on Zoom for our July 23-24 class, we were thrilled that Amanda Meisenheimer, author of the guide for “Bearing Witness in the Kin-dom: Living Into the Church’s Moral Witness Through Radical Discipleship,” would be leading us from New York City!
Gathering Mission u leaders and participants from all over the country on Zoom has been one of the happier unintended consequences of our pandemic lockdown. Class members joined us from all over California and Nevada, and even from Washington state and Missouri.
Beautiful music was played at the beginning of each two-hour session. Our first session began with quick introductions by every class member in the session. We gave our names, our locations, and told what qualities our childhood churches had instilled in us.
The random Zoom “breakout rooms” were a delight, where we could discuss in small groups the topics that Pastor Amanda assigned each time. –
- Why do we believe that every human being has intrinsic worth?
- What is the difference between etiquette, morals, and ethics?
- What are the differences between justice and mercy?
- We were asked to hear one another’s stories with empathy and “attentive listening.”
- We were challenged to update a parable to our current situation.
- We were assigned to discuss the Sand Creek Massacre of Native Americans and what is possible when we remember such persecution, show our regret, and look for ways to make meaningful reparations to groups of people who have been badly mistreated.
For another activity, we fired off our answers as a Zoom “Chat Waterfall.” We were each to compose “A Six Word Story of Faith,” type it into the “Chat,” but wait until the signal for everyone to hit “Enter” at the same time. Class members came up with such mini-poems as “Always seeking, sometimes finding, heart full,” “Took years but now I belong,” “Lord, may my steps follow yours,” and “We are because God loves us.”
Amanda reminded us that we may be unaware of “the water we swim in.” We are so accustomed to our culture that we no longer question it, and this can be a detriment to everyone. We need not be nostalgic about the past, but instead have nostalgia for the future city of God as described in Isaiah 65:17-25 – “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind … No more shall there be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.”
Our final assignment was to put together the closing worship service by choosing a breakout room for ourselves, rather than going to “rooms” assigned randomly by Zoom. Our choices were “Call to Worship,” “Music,” “Reflections or Meditation,” “Scripture,” “Call to Action,” and “Closing Prayer.”
We send our warmest thanks to Mission u Deans Martha Parker and Mary Cheng and to our tech wizard Wanda Garrett for facilitating this wonderful event.
You may read more of Amanda Meisenheimer’s thoughts on this Mission u class on pages 8-11 of the May / June 2021 issue of “Response” magazine. An article by “Witness in the Kin-dom” author Darryl Stephens can be found in the same magazine on pages 33-35.