Convocation on the Rural Church

August 9, 2019

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and Bishop Paul Leeland joined 500 clergy and their families from the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences for the 2019 Convocation on the Rural Church. This annual convocation invites pastors from both conferences serving rural churches to join with Duke Divinity School and The Duke Endowment to discuss issues that are important in transforming rural churches and communities and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The theme “That All May Be Healed,” provided a context whereby clergy were engaged for reflection and guidance to provide healing within their congregations and communities. Dr. Warren Kinghorn, jointly appointed within Duke Divinity School and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Duke University Medical Center, drew from his Christian experience to offer assurance that we are deeply and profoundly known by God and therefore it is important to have a social understanding of health and not only a medical understanding of health. Clergy were reminded that the church is uniquely placed to contribute to healthy relationships. The Rev. Dr. Melanie Dobson, professor of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, directed the convocation in spiritual reflections that allowed participants to experience the ways in which healing can be seen as a central theme in the Christian faith. The convocation allowed vibrant worship as Elder Rev. Avery Brown, Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District AME Zion Church and Rev. Dr. Fatimah Salleh, graduate of Duke Divinity School and ordained Baptist, preached. The clergy of our rural churches selected various workshops that including, “Reimagining Your Role in the Community,” “Waging Peace, Right Where We Live,” and “Healing Conversations,” among others, all contributing to how clergy create communities “That All May Be Healed.”