Sunday, July 11, 2010

Convention - opening day

Good evening good friends and fellow Redeemed,

Another day of early rising: 6:00 a.m.! Tom Ries and I walked a couple of miles before it got too hot. Not much traffic on downtown Houston streets on a Saturday morning. Sadly, there was a lot of “homeless traffic” on the sidewalks. There appears to be a big ministry opportunity among the poor and homeless in this big city.

After breakfast the floor committees held open hearings in the various ballrooms of the Hilton Hotel. During a break time I ran into Troy Bauer, one of our fifth grade teachers at St. Paul’s. Troy is an advisory delegate representing the non-ordained church workers in our Southeastern District. The only St. Paul’s member attending the convention that I have not seen yet is Rev. David Maack. As one of the vice presidents of our District, Dave serves as an advisory delegate.

I attended the floor committee on Finance and Administration. I attended this one in case someone had a question about the finances of the Synod that related to the LCMS Foundation. If one did have questions, either Rev. Tom Ries, the Foundation President, or I would be able to address it. No one had any questions concerning the Foundation.

I enjoyed lunch with Tony Hansen. Then I worked at the Foundation’s display until the delegates met for an orientation workshop on convention procedures. Our Synod has a number of interesting policies and practices regarding parliamentary procedures at its conventions. For instance, there is the two minute rule: no one can talk at a microphone for more than two minutes.

Then we gathered together for a most inspiring opening worship service! What a service: an orchestra leading every hymn and song; a unique blend of contemporary songs and traditional hymns were sung; multiple languages were spoken during the readings and prayers; and thousands of worshippers all praised our gracious and almighty God and Savior. President Kieschnick had a powerful sermon on forgiveness.

It was estimated that between seven and ten thousand worshipped as one in the opening service. Most of us, if not all, took part in the LORD’S Supper. It was distributed in a organized and respectful way. A number of altars were strategically placed in the convention center. Ushers directed the worshippers to one of the altars near to where you sat. You walked in a continuous line up to celebrate pastors and received the body and blood of our LORD in, with, and under the bread and the wine. Then you returned to your seat for prayer.

Then it dawned on me, next week when I help chaperone our Youth to the LCMS National Youth Gathering, there will be over 30,000 youth and leaders celebrating Holy Communion together. I am sure that too will be well planned. Image the numbers united together in communion!

Following the two hour worship service, the delegates met in the Hilton Grand Ball Room for a Texas family style barbeque. One of the great things about the dinner was the absence of any speaker or planned program. It gave everyone a great opportunity to do some personal networking.

All in all it was busy day preparing for tomorrow’s start of the convention’s business of working together to do the LORD’S work as a Church body.

Please keep me in your prayers, as you are in mine. God bless!

Pastor George

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