The Genesis of the Fellowship Gathering

By Mike Khandjian, Joel St. Clair, Justin Chappell
May 7, 2024

The genesis of the Fellowship Gathering lay in a simple belief: the joy and communal spirit envisioned by our denominational founders must play a part in our denominational life. And that this part of our life as a denomination could be realized without taking a single vote or approving a single docket. So each year during the week of General Assembly, women and men connect at the Fellowship Gathering to celebrate and connect with others.

In the first year of the Fellowship we had 35 people in a room who were there to build connection with one another. We recognized that the week of General Assembly can be isolating and wanted to build relationships among the people arriving for the work. We made an effort to keep some of the connection throughout the year via emails running with the simple subject: Updates and Encouragements. As each year arrived we realized that we would need a larger venue because a significant appetite existed for this type of connection.  

We are now in the twelfth year of the Fellowship Gathering and as the years have ticked by, the simple belief continues. We have had varying levels of programming during the Fellowship – food, drink, music (e.g Paul Ranheim, Kevin Twit, Sandra McCraken, Joel Littlepage), and updates from various corners of the PCA (women’s ministry, campus ministry, pastoral works small and large) to encourage one another. The growth year over year has been organic, almost exclusively word-of-mouth. Pastors, elders, women, and friends have become part of this movement that employs joy and celebration, rather than rancor and debate, to forge a growing community of friends.

Founders and ‘old-timers’ have extolled the Fellowship as a glimpse of what they had hoped for in the PCA and our hope is that first-time attendees experience a warm welcome and real connection. For a few hours each General Assembly, people gather – without badges, without voting cards, and without agendas. People in jeans, people wearing bow ties, moderators, coordinators, women, and men. People who may disagree on the floor of GA, but who enjoy one another around the tables.

Why? Because at the end of the day, this is who we are. That when we come together in Christ’s Name, and in joy, we live out of what will one day be, when heaven and earth are one, at the wedding feast of the Lamb, and in the hope that this joy will encourage, then spill out into the communities we serve. We are reminded that while our mission is grand—and sometimes overwhelming and exhausting—we are not alone in this calling.

We invite you to join us this year at the Fellowship Gathering.

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