The theme of General Conference worship was “Discipleship by the Sea.” Led by worship consultant Marcia McFee, members gathered each morning and evening to encircle the business of the church in praise and prayer.
Each day of the conference, a different word and symbol were placed on the altar and lifted up to provide inspiration and spiritual guidance. They included:
- Call. The symbol was the shoreline in the Gospel of Mark, which became a metaphorical home for the delegates, who each morning were greeted with a hymn calling them to come away to the shorelines of their life to meet Jesus.
- Invite. The symbols were the grasses and reeds that grow at the shoreline. In many cultures, these items are woven into mats to welcome honored guests.
- Heal. The symbol was salt, which figures prominently in Scripture in covenant making and has healing properties.
- Listen. The symbol that offered a metaphor for the work of General Conference was river rocks, one of the earth’s oldest materials. When justice is silenced, even these rocks cried out.
- Believe. The symbol was water, evoking baptism and the power of transformation.
- Pray. Each person became a living symbol on this Sabbath day.
- Embark. The symbol was a piece of sailcloth, urging worshippers to allow the winds of the Holy Spirit to catch their sails.
- Encourage. The symbol was a piece of rope, which can bind, hoist, secure and create lifelines.
- Encounter. The symbol was a candle, inviting those present to allow the light of Christ to shine within and through them.
- Feed. The symbol was a piece of driftwood, wood tossed by the sea graced the altar evoking the fuel used in the fire in John 21, on which Jesus cooked breakfast for his disciples.
- Follow. The symbol was a piece of net, reminding each disciple that they are a fisher of people, taking the best of who they are and offering it to the world for the glory of God.
Call, invite, heal, listen, believe, pray, embark, encourage, encounter, feed, follow: words of life.