Nine members from First Church attended the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) in Lake Junaluska, NC, last week (September 7-11): Auburn and Ruth Boyers, Brenda Fox, Larry Glick, Sharon Helbert, Rosie Martz, Pauline Miller, and Carolyn and Larry Seilhamer. These participants share what they thought were the highlights:
“NOAC (National Older Adult Conference) of the Church of the Brethren, has been meeting at Lake Junaluska every other year since 1992. If you are 50 years of age or older – you should be a part of this very inspiring and entertaining event.
A highlight this year was having Ken Medema (blind musician) playing the piano, keyboard and singing with great enthusiasm and joining with Rev. Christine Smith on the topic “Hidden Truths in Plain Sight”. One of the afternoon’s entertaining programs was a local story-teller Gary Carden. He only has 90% of hearing but says “as long as I can do most of the talking, I am fine.” He lives in the heart of Southern Appalachia and is a master storyteller who spins tales based on his childhood.” Pauline Miller
“The highlight that really made an impression on me was Ken Medema, the blind man, and how he lead the worship through his music. I enjoyed all the speakers.” Rosie Martz
“The theme for this year’s NOAC was “Then Jesus told them a story” and that theme was truly lived out through being at such a beautiful place with outstanding speakers, insightful Bible studies, meaningful service projects, great entertainment, fun and fellowship, and lots of ice cream!! While my time at NOAC involves a pretty intense work week, I still appreciate being with so many great people who have such a great time! One of the real neat “stories” this year was having such a wonderful representation of folks from our congregation! Next NOAC will be September 4-8, 2017. Start planning now!!!!” Larry Glick
“There were many highlights for me from NOAC. I especially liked the Bible Studies by Bob Bowman. He had a very unique way of presenting, “A Certain Man Had Two Sons” [the parable of the Prodigal Son]. I also enjoyed the humor of Bob Stromberg and our trip to the Biltmore Estate. NOAC was a great way to end my summer of travel in God’s wonderful world.” Carolyn Seilhamer
“Bob Bowman’s morning Bible studies were a highlight of the National Older Adult Conference. Ken Medema was an important part of the conference. All the keynote speakers were outstanding. I enjoyed NOAC. Larry Seilhamer
- “I thought Bob Bowman brought a superb study of the parable of the Prodigal Son, presenting it from the perspectives of the Prodigal Son, the Older Son, and the Father. In particular he highlighted the extravagant love of the Father toward both his sons, an aspect of the parable not often focused upon.
- The Rev. Dr. Gee challenged me to think about how we can get past our silence, fear, labels, and systems to tell each other our stories and move toward greater racial and cultural equality.
- The Rev. Christine Smith told us that we are sod covering barren earth and causing new shoots to spring up.
- Terra Voce, featuring flutist Elizabeth Brightbill and cellist Andre Gabbert, thrilled me with the excellence of their talents, Ken Medema’s music and comments stirred my heart and emotions, and the voices of the 870+ individuals at NOAC made for a heavenly choir.
- But the best part of NOAC was traveling and sharing meals with good friends Pauline Miller, Rosie Martz, and Lucile Vaughn.” Brenda Fox
Results from service projects conducted at NOAC were the following as of September 10:
- 400 children’s books donated to Junaluska Elementary School—more than one per child for the 350 students, plus a box of gently used books and a box of extras from the Kits for Kids project.
- 416 school kits and 287 hygiene kits plus $1,303 to help Church World Service and disaster survivors.
- $8,382 raised for the Nigeria Crisis Response effort.
- $11,959.45 in offerings to support the ministries of the Church of the Brethren (this does not include the offering on Friday morning).