Crisco or lard in pie crusts? Pew or chairs in worship spaces? Hometown fun or far-flung vacations?
These were just a few of the topics of table conversation at the first-ever First-Time Laity Lunch, held Friday at University Plaza. Around 140 laity gathered for food and fellowship, getting to know others attending their first Annual Conference.
District lay leaders from around the state facilitated the free-flowing conversation at each table. Abby Morris, lay representative from Platte Woods UMC, said her favorite aspect of the hour was “meeting people who are in the same position as me – first-timers at Conference! It was wonderful talking to people from all different sizes of churches all over our Conference!”
Amy Thompson, Missouri Conference lay leader, led a short orientation session, covering topics ranging from voting procedures to being good visitors in the city of Springfield to the importance of the crosswalk (“Make those passing in cars happier!”). She also encouraged participants to think about the best ways to take the Conference home with them, including sharing information from the two Bishop’s Learning Times.
While a short orientation had been available to first-time laity in the past, this luncheon represented a new opportunity to introduce laity to Annual Conference.
“We wanted to give an opportunity for first-time lay people to meet other people, have a chance to get oriented, and be able to ask any questions they might have. It also gave us an opportunity to introduce them to the Lay Ministry Team,” said Jill Wondel, associate lay leader for the Missouri Conference.