Posted by: ritagone | February 5, 2014

CA’s Leadership Summit


This weekend, on Sunday morning, I leave for Portugal and our annual Leadership Summit.  (Since I will be gone from the U.S., I will not write my Rita’s Ramblings on the 12th, so I’ll be back on the 19th to tell you of my adventures.)

It’s the end of an era, as this will be the last conference of its kind; from now on, the Leadership Summit will most likely be linked to a Connect conference somewhere in Europe so that more efficient use can be made of travel and scheduling.  At least that’s the plan under scrutiny right now.

I’m particularly excited about this Summit because my dear friend Iris Durfee will be joining me.  We’ve known each other for about three decades, our kids grew up together, and for many years Iris has been a supporter of Christian Associates through her prayers and concerns and dollars.  I’ve kept her up to speed on what’s happening through the years, and she’s known names of people and names of places, but she’s never been face to face with any of them.

In fact, she’s never been out of the U.S.

She’s 63 years old now, retired as the greatest middle school teacher on the planet (by proud acclaimation of many of her former students), has moved to Prescott Valley, Arizona, a wonderful retirement community, with her husband, has had hip replacement surgery, knee surgery, lost 75 pounds…and is rarin’ to go! (Sorry to “out” you like this so publicly, my friend, but I want everyone to know the background to your story of traveling with me to Portugal and the Summit.)  “Take me with you when you go to your next CA conference,” she said to me about six months ago.  And so I invited her to attend our Leadership Summit outside of Lisbon in a lovely resort community called Ericeira, with the Hotel Villa Gale sitting right on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, waves splashing against those cliffs, the picturesque village right out the front door of the hotel lobby, and Iris’ first venture overseas is about to begin!

I’m excited about this particular Summit because there are so many wonderful and new things happening there.  It’s only the second Summit for our new President, Dudley Callison, and he’s brimming over with ideas and visions for the future of CA, both where church planting is involved and in ways to bring in funding that are unique and novel.   We’re introducing a new Senior Leadership Team that is gender-balanced and between the five members has years and years of experience within CA and other missional organizations.  We have scholarships that have been given to indigenous leaders from Europe and Latin America who are coming to be trained and taught by some of our wonderful plenary speakers, such as Deborah Loyd from Portland, Oregon and Marcus Fritsch from Gothenburg, Sweden.

There will be workshops designed to challenge and encourage those who are attending the conference.  Lots of free time to wander through the village and sample good Portuguese food.  This is the only time and place that I ever eat fish, because it’s so tasty and well prepared.  There will be conversation, laughter, prayer, sharing, stories that will touch people and stories that will challenge and change lives.

So hold onto your hat, Iris (and everyone else coming to the Christian Associates Leadership Summit), it’s going to be a wild and crazy ride!!


  1. Rita,
    You’ve painted an enticing picture of your upcoming travels and the summit itself. It makes me all the sorrier that I cannot attend. However, I’m thrilled for Iris and want to cheer her on-“Go, Iris!” God promises to provide an experience that will unite all of you as a community and make Himself known in new ways! You’ll be in my prayers and I’ll be a ready listener when you return…
    Karen Hartmann

    • Karen, I wish you were coming with me! Monique & Steve are going, and you’d love my old friend Iris!! But knowing that you will be here praying (or in Hawaii?) is a wonderfully reassuring thought. I will definitely take you up on a report when I return. That’s a promise. Until then, be well and safe, my friend.

  2. Hi Rita. Looking forward to seeing you in Lisbon.

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