(OGA) The list of speakers and plenary leaders for Big Tent 2019 has been finalized. Among those scheduled to participate is the Reverend Dr. Amaury Tañón-Santos, networker for the Synod of the Northeast. He will be preaching for the opening worship.
Tañón-Santos serves 1,100 gospel communities in twenty-two presbyteries in New England, New Jersey, and New York.
“As the staff person, I travel around the synod, listening and collecting stories of innovation, passion, challenges, and opportunities in ministry and connect people with similar stories and passion to encourage that work,” he said.
Tañón-Santos says there is “great diversity in the northeast” and he seeks to help leadership and congregations find the best ways to minister in their communities. One of the ways, he says, is to help them understand that God has a plan.
“In the northeast, we are trying to figure out what right sizing means for the church. God has called us for this day and time with these resources and a particular amount of money,” he said. “God has allowed us to go this far so we must have everything we need. If people can go about missional discernment from that vantage point, they get excited about what’s ahead.”
Tañón-Santos says he, too, is excited about the future of the church.
“After the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland, I felt encouraged about the future of mid councils,” he said. “I left feeling convinced that we need national structure to interpret the mission, but mid councils are in the best position, structurally and geographically, to encourage local congregation expression.”
Prior to his most recent call, Tañón-Santos served as a pastor of congregations in both New York and New Jersey. He has also served as director of programs and multicultural ministry, faith, and public life, and Latino/a leadership formation as part of Princeton Seminary’s continuing education program.
While he is leaning toward a particular scripture reference for his Big Tent message, Tañón-Santos says he wants to ponder a while longer to see what God reveals, saying, “Who knows what the circumstances toward August can inspire.”
Big Tent is scheduled for August 1–3 in Baltimore. The theme this year is “Called to a Movement Beyond Institution,” which is also the theme for the 224th General Assembly (2020), with Romans 12:2 as scripture reference.
In addition to Tañón-Santos, other scheduled speakers and leaders include the Reverend Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, associate professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago; the Reverend Amantha Barbee with Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church; Dr. William Brown, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Seminary, the Reverend Dr. Renita J. Weems, Hebrew biblical scholar; and the Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018), the Reverend Cindy Kohlmann and Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri.
by Rick Jones, Office of the General Assembly communications
Click here for more information on Big Tent. Registration is expected to open in mid-March.