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Dear Friends,

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus! Blessings to you in this time of Lenten preparation for celebrations of faith to come!

Following up on conversations at The Gathering last month, I am writing to share information about a “Next Conversation” for clergy and lay persons assigned in our Desert Southwest Conference. You may recall that the conversation at the end of The Gathering included heartfelt sharing and expressions of a desire by many to engage in a deeper, Christ-centered conversation that would hopefully lead to a deeper relationship among the deacon, elders, lay persons assigned and local pastors in our churches and ministry settings.

Those who were present at The Gathering enthusiastically supported the idea of a “Next Conversation.” A team to plan the event is being constituted. We have arranged for the presence of Rev. Gina Campbell as our leader in this conversation. Among the goals of this conversation are to take our relationship as members of a covenant faith community to a new level. The yearning is to become more genuinely connected and to create a safe space for building bridges, widening and deepening the relationships that are critical for our being in ministry together.

I am writing to give you the information you need to place this conversation in a place of high priority on your calendars. I would like to see as many of you present as possible. Because this will involve travel for many of you and the necessity of lodging for some, I am working with various persons and groups to secure funding to augment resources that might be available through other avenues you have for such events. We are doing our best to keep costs to a minimum.

The “Next Conversation” will take place at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The date is Thursday, April 27, 2017, and the time is 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

There will be more information forthcoming. For this moment, please do all you can to be present. I am hoping and expecting that you will come and be a part of this “Next Conversation.”

In Christ,

Bob

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