The public is cordially invited to hear 12 Swedenborgian speakers present a variety of visions for the future of the New Church.If you couldn't be there, the best way to get a sense for what the event was like is to listen to the recordings of the speeches. To listen to or download the audio recordings, go to Independent Voice for the General Church Community (ivotgc.org), specifically to the Swedenborg Colloquium Audio page. The files are all in MP3 format.
I'm also going to put links to the individual talks below with a few scattered notes from me. If you were at the event (or just listened to one of the recordings) and want to add some comments, please do. My notes do not adequately represent what each speaker said.
- Rt. Rev. Tom Kline (Length: 20:14)
Tom Kline is the Executive Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem (www.newchurch.org) and he talked about the future of the New Church mostly in terms of exciting things that are happening outside of the United States.
- Rev. Dr. James Lawrence (Length: 17:29)
James Lawrence is the Dean of the Swedenborgian House of Studies at Pacific School of Religion (www.shs.psr.edu) and he talked about some interesting examples of some of the most influential Swedenborgians who were not affiliated with any particular church.
- Rev. Dr. Reuben Bell (Length: 16:24)
Reuben Bell is currently the director of the Samara Center for Practical Spirituality (SamaraCenter.org) and he talked about "the new New Church." You can get a good idea of his talk from his 3 handouts: handout 1: What part of Rev 21 do we not understand? (DOC); handout 2: Handout 2: What the new New Church is all about (An introduction to the new Jerusalem paradigm) (DOC); and handout 3: Handout 3: A New New Church (DOC).
- Rev. Hugh Odhner (Length: 19:46)
Hugh Odhner is a pastor in the Lord's New Church Which is Nova Hierosolyma (www.thelordsnewchurch.org) and he talked about how, when charity is the focus, doctrinal differences don't divide people.
- Rev. Dr. Jonathan Rose (Length: 16:24)
Jonathan Rose is a translator for the Swedenborg Foundation (swedenborg.com) and the author of the recently published Swedenborg's Garden of Theology: An Introduction to Emanuel Swedenborg's Published Theological Works and the title of his talk was “Preparing for an Increased Presence of the Lord.” This was one of my favorites of the day. I have lots more I could say about it but it's better that you just listen to it rather than read my poor summary of it.
- Rev. Jane Siebert (Length: 18:24)
Jane Siebert is a minister in the Swedenborgian Church of North America (swedenborg.org) and a chaplain at a medical center in Kansas and she reflected on 3 ways that she's seen the Lord's Divine providence working for the future of the New Church.
- Morning Panel Discussion (Length: 59:37)
This was an opportunity for people in the audience to make comments on what the speakers in the morning had said or ask questions.
- Rev. Grant Schnarr (Length: 20:42)
Grant Schnarr is currently the pastor of an independent New Church congregation called Creekside New Church (CreekSideNewChurch.org and inewchurch.org) and he talked about reaching out to people who haven't yet experienced the truths of the New Church.
- Rev. Stephen Simons (Length: 20:24)
Stephen Simons is the founder of the Second Advent Christian Movement (SecondAdventChristian.com) and is planning to crusade to spread the good news and he talked about his vision of what churches should look like. You can find some of what he talked about in short posts on his blog (SecondAdventChristian.org). He also gave people a handout on “Healthy Christian Churches” which you can find in this blog post.
- Peter Rhodes (Length: 18:13)
Peter Rhodes is the author of Observing Spirit: Evaluating Your Daily Progress on the Path to Heaven with Gurdjieff and Swedenborg and other books and he talked about the Lord's vision for the future of His church as opposed to our vision of it. This was another favorite of mine and again I could say a lot more about it but I want you to just listen to it.
- Rev. Susannah Currie (Length: 15:08)
Susannah Currie is pastor of the Bridgewater New Church (www.bridgewaternewchurch.org) and she described some of the events that she's organized in the past as a way of encouraging people to be creative in the ways they present the teachings of the New Church to the general public.
- Rev. Chuck Blair (Length: 16:16)
Chuck Blair is the head pastor of New Church Live (NewChurchLive.tv) and he talked about “Eye-Level Christianity.”
- Rev. Frank Rose (Length: 14:47)
Frank Rose is a retired General Church minister who has served all over the world and he reflected on how he thinks worship services and the relationship between clergy and laity will change in the future of the New Church.
- Afternoon Panel Discussion (Length: 55:13)
Like the morning panel discussion, this was an opportunity for people in the audience to make comments on what the speakers in the afternoon had said or ask questions. (If you jump to 47:47 you can hear my question.)
This event was also recorded on video. I don't know if the video is going to be made available online but I've heard that they're going to produce a DVD of it. I'll let you know when I know more.