Arissa is doing a ‘storytelling’ placement as a partnership between Act Five and TrueCity. She is working on telling the story of Act Five through writing, as seen here on the blog. Of her experience at the TrueCity Conference, she writes:
On the heels of the Jubilee Conference, Hamilton held a conference of its own that the Act Five crew also attended. Called TrueCity, it has been happening for over a decade, and is the perfect picture of the unity that can be found in Hamilton. People from different churches and different parts of the city gather together to worship, pray, encourage one another, and share stories of how God is moving in this city of ours. The weekend gave Act Five a chance to reconnect with friends we’ve met throughout the program, as we joined in raising our hearts in prayer for our home.
The conference this year focused on Prayer and Mission and how they interconnect and strengthen each other rather than compete. To show the power of prayer in starting us on missions, the leadership team of the conference decided to incorporate prayer stations into the layout. These prayer spaces were put together by various organizations in the city and focused on praying for specific things such as nature, affordable housing, mental health, refugees, etc. Conference-goers were encouraged to spend time in them, praying at each station and recognizing how other people’s prayers had led to these initiatives to make Hamilton a better place.
Act Five played a small part in the conference with these prayer rooms. We acted as ushers, leading people to the prayer stations and inviting them to sit with God in different ways. This was a cool role for us to take on, being able to play a small part in giving back to this city and these people who have taught us so much this year. Many of the organizations that put time into making these prayer stations are places where we spend time in placements, or who have taken time in the first semester to walk us through different concepts and ideas.
The conference was a cool way to remind us all of why we spend time in this city and among the people we do. It’s incredibly refreshing to stand in a room filled with hundreds of familiar faces and praise God for leading Hamilton to where it is today. In fact, it is this kind of reverence and hope for change that our program was born out of. The testimonies of grace and God’s work in this city were a strong reminder to look back on everything that has changed in us since entering this community in September, and to look forward in hope that God will continue working so strongly here, both in us and through us.
Each year, to go along with the conference, GOHOP (Greater Ontario House of Prayer) sets up a prayer room that remains open 24/7 for two weeks after the conference is over. People volunteer to fill time slots, so that there is always someone praying day and night for the entire time the space is open. It is filled with prompts, inviting people to pray in ways they aren’t accustomed to and for people and places they may not always pray. In the middle of the two weeks, BURN 24/7 Hamilton, a group of musicians who organize worship nights around the city, host 30 hours straight of musical worship in the prayer room. Act Five volunteered to take a shift, and between the twelve of us, we filled in 18 hours with constant prayer as groups and individuals.
Both of these, the TrueCity Conference and the GOHOP prayer room, are special places in the city that Act Five has had the privilege of enjoying and taking part in. They point to the ways God is bringing his kingdom to Hamilton, and somehow, it was in his plan that we could play a small role in helping his kingdom settle here.
Check out the following links to learn more: