13 August 2010

You're Here for the Fried Chicken?

Last night I returned from the New Church Leadership conference in Decatur, GA; I was there as part of the Center for Progressive Renewal as a participant of the Bridge 4 Faith program. It was a fantastic program. My goal as a pastor is to help in the revitalization of The St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church. I think I have good ideas, I think the congregation has great ideas but how to implement them? This conference gave me a notebook full of ideas and several pounds of nuts and bolts. I will prepare my notes into something accessible for a wider group over the next couple of weeks.

Odd how going to a different city and listening to new voices can enthuse and ignite you.

Here is the day-to-day

Day One, a nice drive from NOLA to Decatur. If anyone ever says there is not enough land for the citizens of this nation just show them Alabama - there were deserted miles between exits. I began to think what if I get a flat tire or run out of gas. I checked into the hotel and decided to go for a walk. Instantly I realized odd things: even sidewalks, large lawns, quiet neighborhoods, so quiet that my presence caused a few folk to peer out their window wondering what was going on. After the walk I moseyed over to the reception the conference had arranged. Side note -- If anyone ever wonders: what separates Baptists from other groups (this conference was largely a UCC event) it is the presence of alcohol. It was a nice change to see clergy having a casual glass of wine or even a cheap American beer. After the occasion I continued my exploration of the downtown area then returned for a good night sleep.

Day Two, lots of plenary sessions, workshops, lots of notes, and ideas. I began the day hoping to find some sausage biscuits and gravy; the hotel offered them but it was terrible. For dinner the Bridge for Faith group all met at The Watershed. Once we were seated our waitress asked if we were here for the fried chicken? But of course, even though I had never heard of this place if they have a special fried chicken night - I'm good. Sometime along the way I mentioned I came from New Orleans - this changed everything! Even though the mashed potatoes did not come with gravy the chef made gravy especially for me, he even came out and met me afterwards. I have to say Chef's fried chicken was the best I have ever had! hands down. Better than my mother-in-law's, better than my grandmother's, better than my wife's and I hate to say it mom -- but even better than yours. The meal was full of great conversation, food and libations. We all left way too full and happy.

Day Three, more great plenary sessions, workshops, lots of notes, and ideas. A good friend from Birmingham drove over for the supper. We ate at the Brick Store Pub (supposedly the #2 beer bar in America - quite a recognition for a restaurant without any cask ale! -- yeah, yeah I heard it too--they usually have it). They were out of Ommegang, so I settled for an IPA, chicken fingers, and fries (yes, I felt like a kid ordering that).

Day Four, I headed back home for New Orleans. From the notes and twitter feeds it looks like I missed some great stuff.

Lots of good people, good resources, and overall great time. Look forward to implementing some of the ideas now....


Carol said...

great story about the chicken! i might make a special trip.

have you tried mchardy's on broad?

Joker said...

Hey travis,
hope you implement those new ideas soon...!
like your writings sir..
would love to be a regular reader..!
do visit me too..! hope to catch with u *_*

G. Travis Norvell said...

mchardy's never heard of it. but i will definitely try it now!

joker i could not find a blog to read, please send me the address.