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Wearing the Same Jersey

Nov 4, 2022

“How I feel about someone and how I relate to them is my definition of interdependence.”

As the East Focus Retreat drew to a close on Wednesday morning, Charis Fellowship Executive Director Phil Sparling shared his view of interdependence. Phil is in his last year of serving in this role and he reflected on how he has seen interdependence play out among the Charis Fellowship churches and ministries over the past four years.

Phil shared some parting words of wisdom on how to pursue interdependence: trust one another because we are all wearing the same jersey, assume the best in others, and prepare yourself to shepherd the world.

During each session Ryan Ritchey, director of worship and discipleship at Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church in Martinsburg, Pa., led a time of musical worship. Each of the eight Charis Fellowship national ministries had opportunity to share their mission, vision, and future plans during sessions as well. Dayne Carraway, church planter in Towson, Md., and Wade Rininger, church planter in St. Petersburg, Fla., led the group in pre-session activities.

Monday night Dr. Augustin Hibaile, the director of the CIDEL organization in the Central African Republic, shared his global view of interdependence. Dr. Hibaile works with national leaders and politicians in the CAR, providing ethics and moral training. He shared four things that global interdependence requires: 1) A better understanding of different cultures; 2) Mutual respect; 3) A sharing of different gifts for the common good of the Body of Christ; and, 4) Encouraging and supporting each other.

Tuesday morning retreat attendees participated in small group discussions over 2 Corinthians 8–9, looking at the how interdependence is shown through unity, equality, and generosity. Scott Feather, lead pastor at Gateway Church in Parkesburg, Pa., further led the discussion by examining oneness vs. unity.

“When we realize we are one because Christ has made us one, unity can flow out of that,” he said.

Tuesday afternoon attendees had the chance to explore the area by walking along the boardwalk or seeing wild horses at the nearby Assateague National Seashore. The retreat concluded Wednesday morning with Phil’s message.

Nearly 80 people attended the East Focus Retreat in Ocean City, Md. The group included pastors, spouses, and families from the region as well as national and cooperating ministry leaders and representatives.

See more photos from the retreat here.

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