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Each year I attend a large faith formation event from which I return both encouraged and equipped. The conference is designed specifically for ministry leaders in Reformed churches yet most CRC pastors, youth ministry leaders, and children’s ministry leaders have never heard of it.

I suspect that’s because it’s hard to find ourselves in the name: Annual Event for the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators. After all, we aren’t Presbyterian and we don’t think of ourselves as Church Educators. But look beyond the name and you’ll find a fabulous conference hosted by an organization of dedicated faith formation leaders who are committed to Reformed theology and to learning from and with each other.

Every ministry leader in your church would be blessed by attending this conference.

Deep & Wide: Boundless Hospitality is the theme of the next event, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky from January 31- February 2, 2018. Here are just a few of the many reasons to consider attending:  

The worship leaders:  

  • Sandra Van Opstal, Executive Pastor at Grace and Peace Community, a CRC on the west side of Chicago and author of The Next Worship  
  • J. Herbert Nelson II, former director of the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.

The event artist:

  • Scott Neely uses art as an instrument to positively change the lives of those around him.

The workshops:

This conference offers more than 70 workshops focused on youth, leadership, children, hospitality, education, young adults and older adults, social justice, community building, creativity and the arts, leadership, family ministry, worship, and technology. Have I mentioned that there’s something for every ministry leader in your church at this conference?

Workshop topics include:  

  • How Can We Talk About Race if (Almost) All our Youth Are White?
  • Better Together: Creating a Culture of Inclusion
  • A Surprising Look at Parables (with Rabbi Sandi Eisenberg Sasso and Dr. Amy-Jill Levine)
  • Hospitality and Youth: The First Seven Minutes
  • Third Calling—Engaging in Aging That Is Changing
  • Creating Community with Art
  • How Wide Is Your Welcome?
  • Worship Arts: Welcoming All Ages to Lead Worship
  • All Church Thematic Planning

Not to mention the fabulous Pre-Event Seminars (including one on Recipe for Church Inclusion: 3 Ingredients That Will Guarantee a Place of Belonging with Persons of Varied Abilities sponsored by CICW and led by Barbara J. Newman, Ken Medema and Maria Eugenia Cornou) and the selection of Mini Plenary Sessions (including one called Speaking of Welcome with not-to-be-missed Rodger Nishioka.)

The APCE Annual Event. Ignore the name. Attend the conference. You’ll be glad you did.

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