CHICAGO – More than 750 church educators and pastors have braved January temperatures in Chicago this week for the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) annual event. Meeting in Chicago Jan. 27-30 with the theme “God’s New Thing,” the conference plans to explore the “new things” God is doing in participants’ lives, churches and neighborhoods.
They have come from north and south and east and west… literally. Participants have arrived from across Canada, Alaska, California, Texas, Florida, and various East Coast locales recently pummeled by heavy winter snowstorms.
APCE is “back on solid financial ground,” said Zeta Lamberson, APCE president and pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Georgia, addressing those gathered at the opening session on Jan. 27. She noted that APCE has repaid money borrowed from the organization’s endowment “during leaner years.”
Heath Rada, moderator of the 2014 General Assembly and also a certified Christian educator himself, offered encouragement to the attendees, noting that Christian education has been found to be more formative in a person’s faith development that any other element of church life.
Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, preached during opening worship from the 11th chapter of Mark’s gospel, about Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers. Moss encouraged his listeners to turn the tables over themselves, to bring “radical renovation” to their ministries to change their community, the nation and the world.
Over the next three days, conference participants will attend workshops on topics including intergenerational ministry, leadership development and mediating conflict. Lillian Daniel, (author of “When Spiritual but Not Religious is Not Enough”), will lead plenary sessions, and the event also will feature “Ed Talks” (modeled after TED talks) from Katy Dawson, John Vest and Rodger Nishioka.