New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 70

Boynton Beach Retreat 2017 Compiled by Bruce Henderson A nother successful Retreat in Boynton Beach, Florida, January 29 through February 2, drew New Church members from 10 states and Canada, and featured four-day presentations by: • Brian Henderson, Director of the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, speaking about this unique religious museum and what it is doing for the Church, the Academy and thousands of visitors • Dr. Soni Werner, associate professor emerita of Bryn Athyn College, on Dark and Light: Psychological and Swedenborgian Perspectives • The Rev. Mac Frazier, assistant pastor of the Glenview (Illinois) New Church, on lessons learned trying to plant a New Church in Austin, Texas, and about what works and doesn’t work for church growth The Rev. Alan M. Cowley, the new pastor in Boynton Beach, presented the banquet address on the theme: “The Great Minister-Congregation Compromise.” The premise, on one hand, he said, “was to look at the apparent mismatch of a young upstart, long-haired minister, with an ‘older’ congregation. On the other hand, it was to look at tradition and ritual as similar to my long hair.” And so he had a list of traditions on the board with the deal that if someone was willing to change a tradition, and was able to convince a majority of the people in the room to change it as well, then they would be allowed to cut off a lock of his hair. Meanwhile, he told about some experiences in London, England, where he had previously been pastor, “which to me demonstrated well the essential internals of worship, though they were not in a church context, where our traditions were not present, and yet the internals (prayer, instruction, praise and humility) were all very present.”  He ended the talk with a charge “that as we work to keep the Lord’s Church going from generation to generation, that we focus more on what is essential, while finding new externals which might be better or more effective vessels for the internals. Not that we ought to throw out anything that we have 136