• Convocation: We Are Close to Being Together!

  • We are Close to Being Together!

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-21

    The calendar shows fewer than 160 days before we gather Together in Milwaukee. While that may seem a long way off (it is in the next school year), I am getting excited. The committee has so many plans and ideas, and I love how the plans are coming together.

    Gathering All Together

    We will have four times when we all will gather together.

    • The first is the Opening Event on Thursday, October 6, when we meet under the theme Called and Called Together.
    • The second event is the Thursday night banquet. Its theme is Uniquely You, Uniquely Together, and it will feature The Skit Guys for entertainment.
    • On Friday morning, we will assemble and ponder Broken and Held Together by Christ. The keynote speaker for this discussion is former Olympian Scott Hamilton.
    • Our final gathering will be on Saturday morning when we share a brunch, closing event, and sending worship under the theme Better Together.

    While we gather together in the main hall, our hosts will be Rehema Kavugha (former Lutheran teacher and current Synod Relations Director for LCEF) and Chad Janetzke (Theology Teacher at Martin Luther High School in Milwaukee). We know that many of you love the worship and music at the convocation, so we have asked Adam Countryman to be a part of and coordinate it.

    Sectional Gathering

    More than a year ago, we solicited topics and speakers for the convocation. We are pleased to say that we have 189 sectionals from which you can choose. On Thursday and Saturday, we will have Featured Speakers. These speakers include Greg Seltz, Bernard Bull, Mike Zeigler, Jennie Williamson, John and Monique Nunes, Brad Alles, Rich Bimler, and Jeff Burkart.

    The convocation offers five opportunities for participants to learn and participate from various speakers on Friday. There are multiple sectionals for everyone, no matter your position in your ministry.

    Hospitality and Experience Milwaukee

    Lunch always seems to be on the mind of our attendees (it’s on my mind all of the time!). We are working with the Wisconsin Center to provide plenty of choices for you. Many of you have dietary concerns, and there will be options for those that have gluten-free and vegetarian needs. The app will be the best place to keep informed about food choices and locations at the convention center.

    Another popular item is the evening receptions in the exhibit hall. We know a popular concern is lines at the bars. Just don’t get in line at the first one you see unless it is short.

    LEA will have a banquet on Thursday night to enjoy each other’s company. On Saturday morning, you can attend a brunch as part of the closing event. This fortifies you in two ways: physically with a meal before you travel home and spiritually with worship as we end our time together.

    If you’re wondering about Friday night’s schedule, here is what you need to know. After each convocation, LEA asks for feedback from its members. One comment that comes up repeatedly is, “We need time to visit with friends or spend time as a faculty.” This year, we took your message to heart, and we have not scheduled a banquet for Friday night, so you have quality time to visit with friends or staff.

    Now the answer to the good Lutheran question: “What does this (change) mean?” Friday evening, we encourage you to go out and experience Milwaukee. Milwaukee has many wonderful places to eat within walking distance of the convention center and convocation hotels. Some are 3rd St. Market Hall, Zocalo Food Truck Park, Old World Third Street, and the Deer District.

    You may also be wondering what happened to preferred banquet seating. Everyone will have assigned seating on Thursday night. When you register, you will indicate if you are part of a group/faculty. If your whole staff is coming or just a portion of it, we ask that you designate one person to be the contact person for your staff. Then, when registering, that person lists all the people that want to sit together. Everyone else lists the contact person. Don’t worry if you are the only person attending from your faculty or organization. We will place you with some great people. You may be thinking, “What if our needs change because someone takes a call after we register or we need to add people to our list?” Don’t worry; you can always go in and edit your list/registrations. If you have questions, please feel free to message the LEA office at denise.rice@lea.org.

    The Exhibit Hall

    Upwards of 100 exhibitors will be in our hall to talk to you about all of your school’s needs (and even some you haven’t thought of)! One thing we learned from the last convocation was that teachers and administrators loved the STEM area, so that will be an integral part of the hall. We are also creating an “exhibitor theater” where you can learn more about our exhibitors’ specific products and services. Look for more information about this as we get closer to the convocation. Finally, don’t forget to visit LEA Central. Here, you get free popcorn, find charging stations for your phones, and may meet the staff of LEA.

    Other Important Information

    Registration—Faculties can register as a group or individually. Go to https://intre.org/?547 to register. Take advantage of the Best Value rate by registering before June 1.

    Finances—you may be waiting to register until July in order to use Title Funds. If so, you may want to think about getting memberships for your teachers this fiscal year to spread out the cost of the convocation. Remember: members get a better rate. They also have access to our resources. (Have you checked out LEAconnects lately?)

    Care for our Attendees—LEA is acutely aware that coming to the convocation can be overwhelming. We will have an area near registration for newcomers to learn more about the experience. Also, LEA will have a chaplain and care team available for those with needs. I know, “What about Comfort Dogs?” Yes, they will be with us as well.

    Hotels—They are all within easy walking distance of the Wisconsin Center. Prices are $129–$139 per night + 15 percent tax. Need information or costs on our eight hotels? Go here to find out more. How do you assure that you get the hotel you want? That’s easy! Register now.

    Will there be more information coming out about the convocation?

    You may want to check our website every few weeks to find new information, and members will see it first in the LEAnews that comes to their email every Tuesday and Friday. However, I’m hoping if you read all of this, you are getting excited about the convocation. I know I am. I can’t wait to see Lutheran educators from all over the world gathering Together!

    You can find this information at our website or our registration site. It will also be on our app when it becomes available.

    Denise Rice is LEA’s Director of Educational Resources. Among her many responsibilities on staff are social media, website, Words on Wednesday, LEAconnects, and the Lutheran Junior Honor Association.

    Photos: Milwaukee Visitors and Convention Bureau; LEA/Kathryn Hillert Brewer

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