Twelve Educators, Youth Directors and Ministers from Foothills Presbytery attended the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) national gathering Jan. 25-28 in Denver. APCE is a network of those who are passionate about educational ministry. We connect, enrich, empower, and sustain one another as we model, teach and share the story of Jesus Christ.
Focused on the theme “God with us in the Chaos,” the 2017 gathering offered education, worship and resources and a network of professionals to help us all ponder how to find God’s order in a complicated world.
(Allyson Helive, TJ Ramaley, Mary Morrison, Pressley Cox, Donna Foster, Susan Tompkins, Debbie Foster, Barbara Stoop, Susan Felton, Amy Rawlings, Deborah Broadwell, Tom Malone)
The conference drew more than 600 people (pastors, Christian educators, youth workers, children’s ministry directors, adult spiritual formation leaders and more) from 43 U.S. states, Canada and Pakistan. This year marks APCE’s 46th year. The organization now has more than 850 members from five denominations: the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Moravian Church in America, Presbyterian Church in Canada and Reformed Church in America.
In addition to a large resource marketplace there was a Spirituality Center for participants and a “Chaos Un-packed” space for rest and renewal. Each day included a time for worship, music and a presentation from amazing speakers: Nadia Bolz-Weber (Lutheran Pastor House for all Sinners and Saints & best selling author) Denise Anderson (Co-Moderator PCUSA and Pastor Unity Presbyterian Church Maryland) Jon Brown, (Pastor of Old Bergen Church) Larron Jackson (Minister of the American Baptist of the Rocky Mountains) and Shannon Johnson Kershner (Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago).
More than 60 workshops were offered throughout the week on topics including developing resilience skills to help young people deal with grief; the pastor as educator; praying Scripture; and adult faith formation in the 21st century. Foothills participants are gathering February 16th at Easley Presbyterian to share their favorite workshop highlights and “take-aways” from the conference with each other and other Educators in our Presbytery.
A big highlight of our week was when our own Susan Tompkins (First Greer) was recognized as completing all the requirements to be a Certified Christian Educator in the PCUSA. There will be a service of recognition for Susan at our 102 Stated Meeting of Presbytery February 21 at First Church Spartanburg,