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2011 Biennial Roundup a Great Success

Over 60 attendees spent a wonderful weekend together as AOTS National and Central Region participated in a joint Biennial/Roundup convention entitled Celebrating Men’s Work in the Church – Making a Difference.

Keynote speaker Michael Blair provided great insight into the act of celebration by focusing AOTS members on celebrating the future as opposed to the past. In his opening address Michael posed three questions:

-What is the legacy you want to leave for those who come next?
-Why make a difference and for whom?

-What does it mean for you to share your faith? How do you share your faith?
He spoke of “presencing” the work of the church by contemporizing the situation we see on our horizon. This is complicated by our desire to be hospitable and act as “hosts” to those we wish to welcome and come as our guests. Relationships become defined over time as host and guest. We become stuck in the past. In this sense we need to dispense with our notions of hospitality, set it aside and practice a future based on equity, recognizing that we all do not start from the same place. If our goal is to make a difference in the world, we need to dispense with relationships that keep us in the past.
Michael’s three keynote presentations had a profound impact on the weekend convention, which was finalizing significant changes to the AOTS Constitution, making us a slimmer and trimmer organization for the times we are in. John Cooke led that work and he will be working closely with new president Dave Morris in transitioning us through to the full implementation of those changes.
John Groeneveld led us through numerous wonderful sing-alongs and led our choir for our Sunday service. John’s work was splendid throughout the weekend and we were blessed with his leadership.

The pace for the weekend allowed considerable time for fellowship. As usual the big screen at Jackson’s point was posted to the respectful hockey game or curling match for all to see and euchre games were played throughout the common area.

George Bishop did a wonderful job providing leadership on the weekend. He organized a Ladies Program for spouses of AOTS members which included a performance of the famous People’s Players. He led a workshop and a wonderful Saturday morning meditation.
Bob Gardner provided Sunday’s morning meditation, in a moving and focused remembrance of his dear wife Eugenie.

Workshop topics included: Outside of the Box Thinking, Making a Difference, Rethinking Our Direction, and Bible Study. Aside from George, David Battaino, Jim Upright and Jim McKibbin were also workshop presenters.

Entertainment for Saturday evening was provided by Cruisin Accapella Quartet. They were very well received providing lots of laughs and great harmonies.

Reverend David Estey provided us with spiritual leadership throughout the weekend in his capacity as worship leader for our Sunday worship.

Throughout the weekend we were ably hosted by the staff of the Jackson’s Point Conference Centre and our own registrar, Keeling Little.

After he was installed President Dave Morris thanked the outgoing executive. He said he looked forward to the road ahead and determining how we can celebrate into the future make a difference in the world now.

A report on the Dondi Project was presented to the convention indicating that the AOTS-supported initiative had raised over $400,000 in total and that all monies raised through the drumming circles and Drumathons would be directed to rebuilding the Lutamo school in Angola.

Convention decisions included the location of the 2013 Biennial in Gander, Newfoundland, in August. Jim Upright was selected as President-elect and Mark Browning took on responsibilities as Recording Secretary. And to the delight of everyone Harold Lorenz agreed to continue as editor of the Handshake. We are greatly blessed.