It was a chilly, windy day in Fargo, N.D., on November 7, 2019, but inside the Holiday Inn it was warm and festive! Over 200 people gathered to celebrate the 34th Annual Presentation Prayer Center Brunch.
Our featured presenter was Rev. Dr. Paul Lang, head of staff at First Presbyterian Church in Fargo. In the recent past Paul had offered two workshops at the Prayer Center – one on the liturgy of hours and a second on the desert mothers and fathers. Those events had been very positive, so we were eager to hear his comments on a topic he is equally passionate about: a new perspective on evangelism.
Paul explained that the Christian church can no longer rely on our contemporary culture/society to explicitly support the Christian way of life. We can either deny that reality or seek new opportunities within that context. Paul suggested that we may have to be content with smaller congregations with an emphasis on the authenticity of its members.
The title of Paul’s newest book is the “The Pilgrims Compass-Finding and Following God in a Season of Change.” Paul views pilgrimage as both a metaphor for our daily walk of discipleship as well as an intentional journey of faith that uses prayerful travel to assist our inner transformation. Paul has led members of his own church on many pilgrimages.
Among the brunch attendees were 15 Presentation Sisters from Sacred Heart Convent in Fargo as well as numerous associates. The members of the Prayer Center board, as well as staff members Scott Mathern-Jacobson and Sr. Roselima D’Costa, were also recognized. The Presbyterian Church, of which Paul is head, bought and occupied three tables alone.
Former Prayer Center Directors Sisters Andrea Arendt and Shawna Foley also attended and were welcomed. Although with us in spirit, this was the first brunch that Sister Petronilla did not attend. Having recently celebrated her 100th birthday and shortly thereafter losing her sister Geri, Petronilla thought it wise to sit this one out.
Written evaluations of the brunch were outstanding. Donations also exceeded our expectations. Paul sold a box of his new book and the annual book giveaway was as popular as ever as guests selected free books from a variety of spiritual topics. The positive spirit in the room was tangible!
Plans are already underway for next year’s brunch with the Holiday Inn being reserved for November 5, 2020.
Peter Edwards, Director
Presentation Prayer Center