The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Challenged, inspired in San Antonio

Dynamic speakers and a dazzling array of events the Women of the ELCA Triennial had it all

I have a confession. I hadn’t attended a Women of the ELCA Triennial Convention since 1993. This year I experienced the kaleidoscope of keynote speakers, Bible study, worship, servant events, “miniversity” classes, global conversations, forums, affinity group gatherings and the dozens of other activities that comprise the triennials. I told my colleagues when I returned from San Antonio after the July 5-10 gathering that I was tired but inspired. What nurtured and uplifted me?

Donna Peña (left) and Mary Preus, two
Donna Peña (left) and Mary Preus, two of the gathering musicians, listen intently to speakers at the triennial’s morning inspiration times. Those sessions included Bible study by Sarah Henrich, rousing music, panel discussions and a wide variety of speakers.

• The worship. Susan Gamelin, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, High Point, N.C., and preacher for the opening worship, emphasized the convention theme of “Act Boldly” as she recounted Mary’s boldness in John 12:1-8. “I would’ve loved to have been there when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet. Wouldn’t you?” she asked. “But we can still anoint the body of Christ on earth today. We can bring lotion to a nursing home and rub over gnarled knuckles hungry for touch. We can reach out to women and children in poverty, to those in Darfur (Sudan), to those different from ourselves. We can anoint the world with the tears of our passion.”

A thankoffering service included prayers spoken in various languages as a reminder of our connection to the global village. Vashti Murphy McKenzie, bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, drew responses of “Amen” or “Uh-huh” when she preached on Ezekiel 47:1-12. She likened the church to a reservoir and suggested we can be like a river “that takes us not where we will, but where God wills.”

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