Montreat's been on my mind quite a bit this past month or so. Sadly, I won't be able to head out there for the Youth Conferences this year as I did last year. Although finances are certainly tight in the current economy, that's not really the reason I can't go this year--at least, not directly. If you serve as a Small Group Leader, Montreat pays for your flight, room, and meals for the entire time you're there. In fact, going last year probably helped my budget for the summer! However, Fuller is in the midst of a significant restructuring effort, and although I won't be losing my job in the midst of it, things are going to be changing fairly quickly, and it's just not a good time to not be here.
But my sister, who still lives in Kentucky, was able to be a Small Group Leader this year, and so I got a lot of updates from her. It was an especially appropriate time for her to be there. 2009 is the 20th anniversary of her first conference, much as last year was the 20th anniversary of mine. Her "anniversary" experience was even more so, however, as the preacher for the two weeks she served was Tom Are, Jr., who gave the sermons back in 1989 (transcribed via the links on the right-side bar)! I'm told that he shared a few of the same stories (after all, the youth of this audience wasn't even alive to have heard them back then!) and a few new ones (I eagerly await the CD my sister has promised me). She even got to sing a song leading the congregation in worship during her time there (that's her in the middle, with Rev. Are on the right, and one of the music leaders on the left. Archbishop Tutu wasn't there. It's just his smiling picture in the back.).
This weekend, Montreat will no doubt have their annual Fourth of July parade, which I still remember watching when I was there with the 1992 Planning Team, and I'm hearing word from many of my Facebook friends (many of whom were fellow Small Group Leaders last year) that they're getting reading to head out there for their Youth Conference experiences (there are six such conferences every year. My sister was at the first two, but there are still four to go!). Have fun! Wish I could be with you all!