Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia, kicked off the 92nd annual Bible and Music Conference on July 26. Best known for its summer middle school conferences (985 young conferees attended this year!), Massanetta Springs also has a dedicated following for the 2015 Bible and Music Conference. The week included five preachers (including the editor of the Outlook)11 worship services, two bell choirs, multiple choral groups, daily Bible study and a visit from Heath Rada, moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – making for a full week for children, youth and adults.
Highlights included Frances Taylor Gench’s Bible study, “Encountering God in Tyrannical Texts: Reflections on Paul, Women, and the Authority of Scripture.” Gench’s classes sparked much discussion, and she received a standing ovation following her final presentation on Friday morning. Worship was rich with the leadership of David Gambrell, associate for Worship Theology and Worship Education with the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Gambrell was the liturgist for the week incorporating a wide variety of elements in worship including a remembrance of baptism, creative readings of Scripture, banners and liturgies from “Glory to God,” the new hymnal. Additionally, Fred Holbrook, executive director of Massanetta Springs from 2002-2014, and his wife and partner in ministry, Laura, were present for the dedication of a labyrinth named in their honor.
The theme of the conference was “This Is Our Story,” a journey through the liturgical year from Advent to Pentecost. Each day was an exploration of a particular season of the church year culminating in a lively celebration of the Feast of Pentecost on Friday evening. Next year, the 93rd annual Bible and Music Conference will be held at Massanetta July 24-30, 2016.