Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hanging out in Kansas

Last Monday evening Grandmommy came up to stay with the boys in Fruitland Park and Daryl and I took off for a week in Kansas. We stayed Monday night at the Hyatt hotel inside the Orlando airport and met up early Tuesday morning with 21 pastors from the Florida Residents in Ministry program that we were shepherding for the week as we attended a leadership conference.  

We stayed in an area of Leawood Kansas known as the Town Center, just a few miles away from the our conference at the Church of the Resurrection. There were lots of great shopping and dining options within walking distance of our hotel. 

Our first night's dinner was Kansas City barbecue at Jack Stack's. Awesome and wonderful food and plenty to go around. If you left hungry it was definitely your own fault!

Daryl and I both had "burnt ends" with Jack Stack's famous Cheesy Corn and more.

The conference kicked off on Wednesday morning at Church of the Resurrection. This is the largest UM church in the country - averaging 12,000 each weekend in worship attendance at four campuses. This church is just 25 years old and was started in a funeral home chapel. Each year they host a Leadership Institute on their main campus for pastors and church staff/leadesrhip from all across the country. There were about 1,800 folks at the conference. Because of our participation in and now work with the RIM process in Florida, this was my third time getting to attend the conference and Daryl's second opportunity. 

Inside their current sanctuary.

Their narthex/gathering space, complete with mission statement written on the wall.

The models of the buildings on their property including the top building which is in process - a new 45 million sanctuary and then 15 million is allocated to renovate the current sanctuary into more classrooms and a fellowship hall. 

Opening session with their pastor, Rev. Adam Hamilton

This is the Student Center for youth ministry

One of the special nighttime worship services - this one with the church choir and preaching by retired Bishop Violet Fisher. She was incredibly inspiring and talked about making sure you get off "your blessed assurance" and do something for the kingdom. 

The worship band in one of our morning services 

The conference was wonderfully done and there was a lot of good takeaways for both Daryl and I as well as the other pastors from the conference that we brought with us. We also got some other opportunities to taste some great cuisine - we spent dinner another night at this gastropub next to our hotel called the Pig and Finch. Daryl had lasagna bolognese and I had duck cassoulet. Both were incredible. 

Down the block from our hotel was this interesting building. It's the Theater Support Center for AMC. We actually know someone who works in this building - Susan grew up attending the First UMC of Seffner with us. She and her family live out in this area now and both she and her spouse work for AMC. We got to spend some wonderful time catching up with Susan one evening. 

After the conference was over on Friday we dropped all the other pastors at the airport and traded in the 2 big rental vans we had been driving around all week for our group for this little beauty. 

We spent the rest of our time in Kansas hanging out with my Uncle Roger and Aunt Mona who live nearby. We enjoyed some wonderful food and were able to spend lots of time talking and catching up.  We had to leave super duper early on Saturday morning to catch our flight home, but my morning cup of coffee had a special touch - a Church of the Resurrection mug! It's not just the church we went to for the conference, it's also the church that my uncle and aunt attend. 

We're thankful for the opportunity we had to get away and to be refreshed and renewed. We're also incredibly thankful for Grandmommy and her willingness to come up and take care of the grandchildren this week. They had a great time together. And as a special treat after school was out on Friday the kids went home with her to Seffner for the weekend to spend time with Granddaddy as well as their cousins. They all came back up to Fruitland Park in time for worship today.

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