Here is a brief summary of our week in St. Louis. We feel as if we've been drinking from a fire hydrant all week long and are still digesting everything that we've learned and discussed! So it will be difficult to summarize in just a few words all that the Lord has been teaching us this week through the speakers and through the discussions with our fellow "cohorters."
We arrived in St. Louis late Monday night and had a sweet reunion with Michael and Denise Wichlan. Michael and Denise were members at Trinity before John became the pastor, but had felt a call to full-time pastoral ministry while we were there. So we had the privilege of 'sending' the Wichlans off to Covenant Theological Seminary to prepare for the ministry. While there, Denise was asked to serve in her current job as the administrative assistant for the Pastor's Summit! It has been great to have the Pastor's Summit as an excuse to get together with the Wichlans!
Tuesday morning we had even more reunions with the other pastors and their wives who are a part of the "Westminster Cohort". We cannot even begin to describe the blessing it is to share struggles as well as encouragements with these fellow partners in the ministry. Our sessions began Tuesday at noon with our speakers, Pete and Geri Scazzero, who serve at New Life Fellowship in Queens, NY and who authored the books, Emotionally Healthy Church as well as Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Each session was followed by exercises (i.e. journaling, listening/conversations between spouses, etc.), which were incredibly helpful to each couple as well as to the larger group as we regrouped to reflect and discuss. We recognized how much we need to grow emotionally as individuals and as married couples, and how this affects church leadership as well as the church at large. As I said earlier, it's too much to summarize, so I highly recommend the books!
We finished Thursday afternoon and spent all day Friday touring St. Louis with our personal tour guides, Michael and Denise Wichlan! Denise is like the "mother hen" of the Pastor's Summit, making sure everyone gets there on time, knows where to go and what to do, and makes it home on time. What's funny is that after spending the day with them in St. Louis, we got stuck in unexpected traffic and missed our flight to Dallas! Thankfully, there was 1 more flight that evening and we made it home a little after midnight... But hey, we had a great time with the Wichlans and we're home safe!
We were able to get pictures of all the members of our cohort, the speakers, as well as a few fun pics around St. Louis. My only regret is that we didn't get a picture of the Wichlans, even after spending all of that extra time with them! We hope that you enjoy these pics almost as much as we enjoyed our trip to St. Louis!
Here we are standing at the base of the Jefferson Memorial Arch. Hannah is hiding behind the doll.
The arch is very impressive. We saw the video about the 'making of the arch' and decided we didn't need to take the tram car up into the arch.
St. Louis has the largest park within city limits, which includes a beautiful zoo, museums, walking trails, etc. - all of which are free to the public! Our favorite part of the zoo was the penguin and puffin exhibit. Here are some puffins swimming around.
Here are some King Penguins. They were so noisy...but very cute.
Here are our speakers, Geri & Pete Scazzero. What a gift they gave to all of us who attended the summit!
Pete & Geri in action... sorry these pics are a little dark.
The Pastors Summit is made up of 3 cohorts - the Reformed Seminary Cohort (those in their 1st 5 years of full time ministry), the Westminster Cohort (those who have been in full time ministry for 5-15 years), and the Covenant Seminary Cohort (15+ years in the ministry).
After the large group sessions, we would gather with our individual cohorts and reflect.
Priscilla & Wendell Stoltzfus - serve in an OPC church in Reading, PA.
Lisa & Andrew Vander Maas - serve in a PCA church in St. Louis.
Josh & Shannon Geiger - serve in a church plant targeting the Hispanic community in Dallas, TX.
John & Mindy - you already know about us...
Drew & Becky Derreth - serve in a PCA church in Hanover, PA.
Diane & Chuck Jacob - serve in an EPC church in Ann Arbor, MI.
Dave & Cindy Tate - serve in the 2nd oldest church in the PCA in Cochranville, PA. (This picture gives the illusion that Cindy is rather tall, but Dave is actually quite a bit taller than Cindy).
Bob & April Willets - serve in a PCA church in Norfolk, VA.
Linda & Andy Phillips - serve in a PCA church in York, PA.
Adam & Liz Brice - serve in a PCA church in Conshohocken, PA.
Hannah was such a trooper throughout the week! She stayed with us through all of the sessions, mealtimes and discussions and hardly made a peep. She is certainly happy to be back in her own bed though.