PIEDMONT COASTAL REGIONAL RETREAT RECAP
BY BUDDY HOCUTT
FEBRUARY 27TH, 2017
February 9-11, 2017 witnessed the first of three Diocesan regional retreats. Covering Eastern North Carolina and Southeast Virginia, the Piedmont Coastal Regional Retreat brought together over 100 clergy, ministry leaders, and lay people for an encouraging time of fellowship, worship, teaching, and training.
On Thursday, rectors, church planters, and lay leaders came together with Bishop Steve and the diocesan staff to discuss the most effective ways in which to further the diocesan mission: “to plant, equip, and multiply disciple-making Anglican churches, and to support and serve their people and leaders in Christian life and mission.” According to The Reverend Alan Hawkins, Canon Missioner of the diocese, “These collaborative, strategic conversations were the best the diocese has ever engaged in.”
Friday proved similarly fruitful. Both ordained and lay ministry leaders gathered to discuss their ministries, from children and youth leaders, to church administrators, to Rwanda partnership leaders, to vestry leadership roles, and others. Everyone received helpful training and provided one another with encouragement and support.
Friday evening peaked with a powerful service of the Holy Eucharist, highlighted by two special moments: the sending out of Curt and Erin Solomon to plant a church in Wilmington, NC, and a visit from Bishop Jered Kalimba of the Anglican Church in Rwanda's Shyogwe Diocese.
On Saturday morning Bishop Steve addressed the region with a strong message of encouragement, mission, and hope, and The Reverend Tommy Hinson, Rector of Church of the Advent in Washington, D.C., provided a brilliant yet humble plenary address. Building on both study and pastoral experience, Reverend Hinson offered profound insight into sexual identity and the issues surrounding it, ultimately defining human sexuality as a matter of identity, outlining the Biblical narrative of human identity, and exploring the competing narratives of identity offered by the secular world.
Deeper engagement with the topic of human sexuality and the Gospel was left to post-plenary breakout groups that engaged Reverend Hinson's material from a variety of viewpoints. Groups focused on topics such as parents talking to their teens about human sexuality, how to minister to individuals experiencing same-sex attraction, and how to administer church discipline in cases of sexual sin.
The Piedmont Coastal Regional Retreat has set a marvelous precedent for the upcoming Blue Ridge and Northeast Regional Retreats. Our prayer is that interest and engagement will continue to grow, making these annual retreats a time of deep fellowship, celebration, and growth.