For the MLK Jr weekend the band decided to go an a retreat to Asheville N.C. All six of us were there, that is the whole band. We booked a house almost in the Nantahala National Forest west of Asheville and arrived Friday. That evening we enjoyed playing songs together, some old and some newer.
On Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast and some folks' morning constitutional, we began a planning meeting to lay out the schedule of topics and songs for our Gospel at the Rock Bluegrass worship service that we host every Thursday evening from 7:30pm-8:15pm in the Loudermilk Building at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church (in Atlanta). We had profound discussions about our callings as worship leaders. We looked at the life of Jesus, as well as our hearts to mine what songs and conversations we will highlight in the next 5 months.
On Saturday afternoon some of the band went and had coffee with the Pastor of Feed and Seed, a Christian worshiping community that also serves its community by offering free music concerts two times every week on Fridays and Saturdays. What a blessing it was to hear the story of pastor Phillip Trees and his congregation. You can check out their website at http://www.feedandseednc.com/. His journey inspired ours. He challenged and changed our ideas of what church is and can be. We came away from our chat with him with a renewed sense of God being at work in our band's ministry and with a hopeful expectation of what will come next. You can see a recording of the live stream from the concert with Destination Bluegrass Saturday January 13th by clicking on any of the photos of the Feed and Seed above.
Saturday evening the whole band went to the Feed and Seed to see the band Destination Bluegrass play. They were great. A lovely mix of old bluegrass and new, plus a bit of country too. When the band played an uptempo bluegrass song the cloggers and buck dancers came to the small dance floor in front of the band. The rhythm of their taps punctuated the band with an added rhythm section. There were regulars there, tourists, first timers and old timers. There was no admission fee, but there was free coffee, a snack bar and just a short mention that this was made possible by the love of the congregation of the Feed and Seed church.
Saturday night, back at the house, after the music at the Feed and Seed, even though we were tired from a long but enjoyable day, we played more music together, in particular, the songs we will be highlighting this Thursday January 18th. (God willing and the snow and ice melt).
On Sunday we had the privilege to worship back at the same venue as the concerts, the Feed and Seed (Yes, it really did used to be the local one stop shop for the community, where they bought their animal's feed and horticultural seeds). The church sang bluegrass music as well as other familiar hymns and songs plus a catchy tune that was new to us which we suspect may have been written by Pastor Phillip (he was on keyboards during the musical first quarter of the worship service). A missionary spoke about her experiences training other young people to witness to the good news in a program she works for called the World Race (https://www.worldrace.org/). She was funny, humble and told many touching stories from her adventures. Pastor Phillip preached a powerful sermon about needing to remind ourselves (Note to Self) of God's intention for us: God wants to share with us an intimate love relationship. For a recorded version of the worship service Sunday January 14th check out this link: https://livestream.com/feedandseedlive/events/8013543
At the end of the service Pastor Phillip called up our more extroverted band members (Jeff and Mike) and asked them to speak to the people about what we had learned from our time visiting the Feed and Seed. You can hear their responses by watching the link above. You can skim toward the end and look for Jeff and Mike standing in the front with the Pastor. Pastor Phillip called us the Feed and Seed's sister church because we share a love of Bluegrass music and a love of sharing that with all people in a spirit of grace.
After church we had a lovey lunch at the North Carolina headquarters of the Sierra Nevada Brewing company where we debriefed and decompressed from an eventful weekend full of new ideas and challenging possibilities. We went back to the house after that and made some video recordings with Josh's camera and new microphone. We will post links to those as soon as they are edited and ready.
On Monday we packed up and left to go home. We certainly did not spend the weekend navel gazing or considering our past but, on the contrary, we spent the weekend seeing opportunities and beginning to see new vistas. While we did go on a retreat, we most definitely advanced!
Everyone is welcome to join us on Thursday night's (7:30pm-8:15pm) for a time of worshiping God and spiritual discussion at our Gospel at the Rock service in the Loudermilk Building behind Rock Spring Presbyterian Church.