2018 Washington Island Forum

June 25 - 29, 2018

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Reading the Verbs: Finding the Script in the Scripture

Presenter:   Anna Carter Florence is the Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.  She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and holds degrees from Yale College and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. and Ph.D.).  Before joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Anna served as an associate pastor for youth and young adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.  Her books include Preaching as Testimony and Inscribing the Word, as well as two forthcoming books: ‘A’ is for Alabaster: A Preacher’s Alphabet, and Come Back When You’ve Found Something True: New Ways to Read Scripture, based on her 2012 Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale Divinity School.  She is a frequent teacher and lecturer in this country and abroad.  Anna and her husband, the Rev. David Carter Florence, have two grown sons.  They also have two dogs, two cats, a flock of chickens, and way too much knitting yarn.  

If you do a quick survey of any bible passage, you’ll find that what is true in life is also true in scripture: the verbs dominate. Not adjectives; verbs. It’s what we do and don’t do that preoccupies human beings. And it’s the verbs we cannot imagine for ourselves (live, liberate, forgive, resurrect) that the church offers, and that we reach for, week after week. So what happens when we read scripture and let the verbs lead? Through four comprehensive lectures, Anna will put a twist on dramatic theory and invite us to read the biblical “script” by focusing on the verbs that are given and chosen by the characters, based on her upcoming book “Come Back When You’ve Found Something True: New Ways to Encounter Scripture.” What new things will we see and hear in both our sacred text and our human drama when we connect the verbs? How can that, in turn, change and renew our reading and speaking about scripture?

The Washington Island Forum is especially tailored to lay leaders and pastors who want to deepen their spirituality and connect with the message of the scriptures in a more profound way.

Forum Setting: The Forum is a 40 year tradition and is sponsored by the Wisconsin Council of Churches and The Christian Century magazine. Enjoy four and one half days of worship, workshops, discussion, and contemplation in an ecumenical retreat setting on Washington Island, just north of Door County Wisconsin. The week begins with a welcome and opening picnic Monday afternoon at Trinity Lutheran Church. Tuesday through Thursday enjoy morning prayer and workshop sessions at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center (TPAC) with Anna Carter Florence, and optional afternoon discussion groups. Friday begins with a Eucharist, a final workshop and discussion, with departure at noon.

Lodging, meals and recreational opportunities are offered by numerous Island establishments. More information can be found at the Washington Island Chamber of Commerce website. Homes and cabins are available for rent through Door Passage Vacation Rental and sites like VRBO, Flipkey and HomeAway. Registrants will receive a packet of information in May 2018 containing an Island brochure, draft Forum schedule, a ferry schedule and other helpful information. The Forum is limited to 250 participants. It is advised that you also reserve a place of lodging early, and inquire about refunds should your plans change. For a video of Washington Island, watch this Discover Wisconsin episode or a YouTube video

For those traveling by air, the closest larger commercial airport is Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.  If flying, we recommend that the flight arrive in Green Bay no later than 1:00pm on Monday or leave before 5:00 on Friday.  It is approximately a two and a half hour drive (including the ferry ride) from Green Bay to Washington Island.  If you prefer the General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee, the travel time to the Island ferry is about three and a half hours. Be sure to check the ferry schedule and plan accordingly.

Download a brochure with a registration form to pay with a check.

Register online with PayPal or Credit Card:

The registration fee ($299) is due at time of registration. Registration also includes Opening Picnic meal for registrant and daily refreshments. Additional picnics for guests may be purchased in May 2018. Other meals and lodging are not included and must be arranged separately. A refund is available with a cancellation fee of $25 if registrant cancels by May 1, 2018. After May 1, there is a cancellation fee of $75.

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