Great River Region Annual Gathering Recap
Members, leaders, and volunteers from around the Region came together as a collective body (in person and via zoom) on November 6, 2021, to attend our first Annual Gathering. The theme was “Nothing Can Separate Us / CommUNITY (Romans 8:39).” We want to thank First Christian Church, Fort Smith, AR, and Pastor Nick Koontz, for being our host church. Your kindness and hospitality are greatly appreciated.
We also want to give a shout out to our Moderator-Elect, Rev. Dr. Bobbie Yellott, for leading us in worshipful work. Rev. Koontz, delivered a powerful message on how we can genuinely be Comm “Unity.” Dr. Burton in her “State of the Region Report,” lifted up the 2022-2024 priorities: Continuing to build on the foundation of the Bailey Institute of Learning, developing and sponsoring a regional disaster relief long-term recovery team, strengthening the financial base of the Region by seeking out participation from small congregations, and formulating new church development geographic strategies.
After worship, we conducted an abbreviated business meeting. It was inspiring to hear from our program ministry leaders, sharing 2021 highlights from GRR Disciples Women, Camp and Conference, Regional Elders, Pinnacle Outreach Ministry, and Just Love-Northshore Disciples New Church Start.
During the second half of the gathering, Dr. Burton facilitated a World Café discussion focused on the Great River Region Future Story, Vision and Mission statements. Groups were asked to discuss a set of questions at three round tables. Click here to read the notes from the discussion. After the World Café, we closed with communion and departed to participate in a regional mission project with Antioch Youth for Youth & Family. Participants from the Region packed four pallets of food for at-risk families. Special thanks to Mrs. Charolette Tidwell, Founder of Antioch for Youth & Family, for allowing us to hear her journey in forging partnerships with a consortium of organizations, who impact the city of Fort Smith and surrounding areas positively.
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Friday, November 5
Before 6 PM
Folks getting in on Friday should check-in at the hotel first. A few recommended hotels are Hampton Inn, Candlewood Suites, and Comfort Inn & Suites. All of these hotels are less than 4 miles away from the church. (Click the highlighted links to view the hotels)
6 PM – 8 PM
The church will be open for an ice cream social. This is a great time to come catch up with others, discuss self-care practices during COVID, play cornhole, and partake in some desserts.
Young Adult Gathering – Rev. Kalie Dutra will be the facilitator.
Saturday, November 6
Registration/Check-in – Childcare and coffee will be available
Opening of Annual Gathering
12:00 PM-3:00 PM
Mission Project: Antioch for Youth & Family – When we gather together in Fort Smith, Arkansas, we hope to impact the area positively. We plan to do this through a three-tiered mission project. Working with Antioch for Youth & Family in the immediate area of the gathering, we will offer the opportunity to participate in impactful outreach. Tier one will be supporting the mission through prayer, and off-site organization of materials, gathering supplies, and financial donations. Tier two will be on-site, hands-on labor that is not physically demanding or requiring a special skill set. Finally, Tier three will be on-site, hands-on, labor-intense or require a special skill set.
*Fellowship hall will remain open for anyone who needs to hang back or wants to leave items there while serving at Antioch.
Children will be given supplies to create cards for the mission project, i.e, something family-related, or God Loves You card. This is also for those who stay behind during the mission project.
“Antioch for Youth and Family,” an all-volunteer nonprofit effort, serves Western Arkansas with community solutions through persistence and partnerships. The Food Pantry provides over 800,000 meals in a community where one-in-five people are food insecure. Senior and Veterans Mobile Pantries deliver food to low income elderly, disabled and struggling families.
Whenever possible, fresh produce is provided at the pantry, to seniors and veterans, and to food insecure children as they leave their elementary schools.