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Consult XXI: Widening the Circle, Doing the Work

A report by Kaila Russell

Silver Lake Conference Center hosted Consult XXI for about 40 folks on November 6-10. This was a gathering for camp managers, support staff, conference staff and board members, and for all advocates of outdoor ministries, mostly in our UCC settings.

We were delighted that Rev. John Dorhauer, the President and General Minister of the UCC, was able to join us for two days. His keynote addresses both inspired and challenged us to live out the three great loves – Love of Neighbor, Love of Children, and Love of Creation. Rev. Dorhauer was eager to hear the stories from our ministries, and spent a great deal of time listening to us, both in big group settings as well as in one on one conversation. He was also quite wonderful playing the drums as part of our worship music.

Three interactive sessions led by gifted facilitators focused on Environmental Justice, Racial Justice and LGBTQ Justice and the implications of that justice work in and for Outdoor Ministries. These sessions were relevant to what so many of us are living out in our ministries.

Rev. Jack Perkins Davidson led us in powerful and inspiring worship and music each morning and evening. In each service, Jack had the ability to bring to us a scripture or an idea we may have heard many times, but then added a twist that caused us to think about it in a new light. Be sure and ask someone about their experience of “Walking the labyrinth without a labyrinth” that we did on the last night of the conference. Wow!

Sharing stories was a common thread throughout the event. Sharing the stories of our faith, as well as our own personal stories happened around the tables as we broke bread together, during our morning ‘walk and talks’, and as we worked and played together. Old friendships were nurtured, and new friendships were formed. Once again we gathered in a sacred space with those who share a common passion – we shared our sacred stories and our lives were changed.

Great information was shared at Consult. We want to make sure that you have access to this - whether you came to the event or not. Here are some resources from the conference:

Environmental Justice presentation by Pam Arifian

Racial Justice presentation by T.J. Harper

Handouts from the LGBTQ presentation by Lindsay Popper and Sam Icklan
* LGBTQ resources
* Pronouns resource