What We Believe- September Core Focus Meeting

The Core Focus meeting for September was Our Religious Belief. The day began with the customary bible study led by Brother Rowland. His lesson was taken from Jeremiah 1: 4-10, 17. He encouraged the candidates to know that even in their youth they are expected to allow God to use them. The memory verse for September was Jeremiah 1:17. T

 ROPP Candidates began their world religion exploration by visiting the Friends of Austin Meeting place. The first difference that stood out about the sanctuary is that there was no altar nor a pulpit. That's because Quakers do not have pastors. Their worship service consists of sitting in communal silence and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal whatever God has to say to each one present. If so moved, any member of the meeting may share what the Holy Spirit reveals, but often times, worship service is a whole hour of silence. The ROPP candidates got to experience "going into" silence and "entering worship" in silence with several members of the Meeting. A brief history of the Quaker movement was shared, including the important role Quakers played in getting slavery abolished. It was noted that both the Quaker movement and the AME Church were founded in Pennsylvania! Although Quakers do not claim to have a specific doctrine or creed, they have "testimonies" they are committed to: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality. The ROPP candidates really enjoyed learning about the Quaker way of life and seemed to enjoy their time in silent worship. We all agreed that we most of us do not spend enough time listening for and to God. The members of the meeting were very touched by our interest in their ministry.
After we left the Friends of Austin, we had our classroom session at the Carver Museum. There, candidates assembled personal copies of the Apostle's Creed that were made into puzzles. Congratulations to Candidate Tiffany for reciting the most of the creed from memory. All four candidates agreed they had work to do to get the whole creed memorized. Unlike the Quakers, the AME has a lot of structure and a very specific doctrine that guides our worship and operation as a connectional denomination. The version of the Apostle's Creed we usually recite at our church is:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried The third day he rose again from the dead He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; The Church Universal; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, and the Life everlasting. Amen.
The last thing we did for Core Focus day was take a refresher on letter writing. We reviewed the appropriate way to address an envelope and each candidate chose a former ROPP guest speaker to send a thank you card to. All in all it was a full, interesting day! To God be the Glory for the things that He does!

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