The 25th assembly of the Slovak Zion Synod took place from January 20-27, 2013 aboard the Carnival Pride; The itinerary began in Baltimore, MD and made calls in Orlando, Nassau, and Freeport before beginning its return route.
The assembly gathered under the theme "Always Being Made New," and focused on wellness in all the aspects. Plenary sessions to conduct business were held in the Butterflies Lounge, which had been reconfigured for our meetings. Session time for keynotes, reports, business and enrichment totaled nearly 30 hours all together. Bible studies were held on the jogging track every morning before sessions, promoting both the spiritual and physical wellness of our church leaders. Evening prayer closed each day in the Chapel.
Keynote presentations and wellness workshops were led by the Rev. Bud Holland; These focused on wellness, conflict resolution, stewardship, and spirituality. Bud Holland lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He has been ordained in the Episcopal Church for 44 years and has served as a vicar, rector, member of diocesan staff, and more recently as Coordinator of the Office for Ministry Development on the Presiding Bishop's staff. Bud retired from that work in 2009 so that he could be more available to his family as he was traveling a great deal, but he was not ready to stop working. He joined the staff of the Dialogue Center and in that capacity he works as a consultant, trainer, and coach. Bud is a graduate of Wake Forest University (BA), General Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M., D.Min.). His areas of special interest and expertise include strategic planning, leadership development and clergy/lay coaching. He is presently working with several churches in significant transition as a member of the Diocesan Consultation Team of the Diocese of Pennsylvania and has served as Interim in two congregations since retiring from The Episcopal Church Center.
Participants were encouraged to enjoy the various venues and highlights the ship offered, and came back each morning refreshed and ready to engage the mission of the church. In reality, many returned with stories of how they had spent that time sharing with each other the life in their congregations, and being witnesses to others on the ship of a church that goes where the people are.
By popular request over the years, this Assembly had continued trust in a venue that not only provided for a modern and streamlined "casual fellowship" to take root amongst participants, but also the planning of an event that was overall cheaper per person and more cost effective than traditional meetings on land-based conference centers and most congregations, saving the Synod and its congregations thousands of dollars in these rough times.