Wineskins Conference


This last week end I attended a Wineskins Conference sponsored by The Church of the Servant King in Gardena, CA; a conference they sponsor twice a year. For over 30 years this congregation has convened this unique cross denominational experience for brothers and sisters from around the world. I describe it as a conference like no other. To help explain some of the dynamics of this gathering here is their conference invitation:

Co-Workers in the Kingdom:

We would like to take a moment to share with you what is known as “Wineskins.” It is a gathering of Jesus’ disciples who see a need to establish and maintain koinonia within the Body of Christ, as well as dialogue about significant Kingdom issues. We meet twice a year to do just that, fellowship and reason together. Wineskins has been a bi-annual event for about 30 years. We usually meet in the Spring and in the Fall.

The conference is not a time for relaxation. We are hard at it with little time provided for leisure. Issues are merely opened up and hammered out with no view of sending everyone home with “THE ANSWER.”

The fellowship is limited to FORTY-FIVE (45) participants to give all attending a chance to become involved. WINESKINS is an ecumenical gathering in which many different styles of faith will be represented, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Mennonites, Baptists, Episcopalians, etc.

Everyone attending participates in paying for the conference. The speakers are not paid for their participation at the conferences; they are there because they want to be.

It is also our hope that the Lord will add His particular kind of success to our gathering, that we will not only enjoy the dialogue and information, but also that we would experience a blessing of transformation

Such is the WINESKINS Fellowship. Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to become a part of this fellowship. Call us any time if you have any questions regarding WINESKINS.

P.S.Participants are asked to be present for the entire conference (usually a Friday evening through a Sunday afternoon.) We have found that the objectives of koinonia and dialogue are undermined when participants arrive late or leave early. Therefore, we deem it a must for you to be there for the duration of this fellowship.

The conference was wonderful, but the best part was being with this special congregation. I’m challenged every time I find myself in their presence. Thirty years ago two couples who desired to incarnate Christ by focusing on the “one anothers” in the New Testament Scriptures moved into the Gardena neighborhood. Since then they have established themselves as those who serve their community in real flesh and blood expressions of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Over their tenure the congregation has experienced a number of ebbs and flows, and ups and downs, but have steadfastly remained true to their calling to this unique inner-city neighborhood.

One of the many things that sets them apart from much of the church is that they do the unconventional in serving those who have often have no one else. The Sunday following 1992 Los Angeles riots sparked by the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King, The Church of the Servant King loaded their congregation into two vans and traveled East across Interstate 110 into the Compton area. They ended in front of New Mount Calvary Baptist Church where they joined the congregation in Worship not knowing the response they would be receiving . Needless to say, there was some tension as they were questioned about their presence at this all black Church. They responded by saying that “they had hoped their presence would say that not all whites agree with the injustice perpetrated by the LA police department; and that Christ has broken down any racial barriers man attempts to erect.” New Mount Calvary Baptist’s response was to welcome them with open arms. That has led to an ongoing and active relationship that grows stronger by the year between these two congregations.

On a more recent note, is the five Hispanic teenagers from one family that they have taken under their care by housing, feeding and educating them beginning some three years ago. The oldest teenager has graduated from high-school, employed and in middle of discipleship training. This is just one of many young people they have rescued since their presence in Gardena. It is always good to be with this congregation.

“New Monasticism” is an emerging church expression of intentional community, which many are discovering to be their calling. For those sensing a the Spirit’s drawing them to this type of ecclesial form, Church of the Servant King would be a good resource.

 

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