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The Fall 2021 Orders of Elders & Deacons and Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members event was held October 14 from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Big Creek State Park. The Orders events intend to draw people closer to God and one another by offering an enriching experience. Offered this fall were various activities, including painting, photography, candle making, fishing, and hiking.
The base for these activities is options that the canceled Flourishing Clergy Project (Book of Discipline required 8-year assessment) offered in 2020. This year, participants could choose two out of 13 different activities.
"Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to learn about Bees and Bee Keeping as part of our Orders & Fellowship Event. It was really fascinating! Our presenter Shannon Bardole-Foley of Honey Hollow Apiary & Gardens, LLC, compared the work of bees to the body of Christ as each bee, queen, drone, or worker has their job to do," said Rev. LaTonya P Calderon. "They do it because they were created to do it (which is a whole different amazingly wonderful discussion). All of their work together creates byproducts that other animals and humans get to enjoy. Their work is not to create beeswax and honey for us. As a matter of fact, their production of beeswax is for an entirely different purpose than what we use it for, and the only reason they make honey is so they have a food source during scarcity."
The event was held outside with plenty of room to spread out of caution to help reduce the chances of transmitting COVID-19.
"As a pastor of the Iowa Conference, twice a year there is an event for us to attend called the Clergy Orders Event. Most often it is held inside a church to include worship, a devotion by Bishop Laurie Haller and time with fellow colleagues either in discussion over recent concerns or a special speaker," said Pastor Sue Simmons. "Today was delightfully different! It was held outdoors at Big Creek State Park in Polk City, engaged in various activities. I like to take photos, so I enjoyed Visio Divina (seeing God thru Photography). Some of us had not seen one another for 18 months! What a beautiful, although slightly cool, day to enjoy time together and God's creation."