APCE Conference 2019

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Last week Sara Holland and I had the privilege of being able to attend the 48th annual Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators (APCE) gathering in Galveston, Texas. This was my first trip to Galveston so I was looking forward to seeing the sights. When we arrived on Tuesday the fog was extremely heavy and as we approached the hotel I asked Sara, “Where is the beach?”

She snickered and laughed and said “it’s right there to your right, out your window. “

But you couldn’t see it at all.

That afternoon we attended the Faith Formation 2020 workshop. It was full of great insight and valuable information for how to move the church forward with an understanding of ministry being done inter-generationally. That evening we met up with members of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church for dinner. Wednesday morning I attended a workshop on technology and gathered lots of valuable resources to help us in the digital world. By mid-morning on Wednesday the fog had cleared enough for Sara and me to take a walk on the beach. Even though it was still cloudy, I managed to get sunburned! That evening the events were kicked off with worship and plenary. I was able to reconnect with friends from back East and other friends from seminary. We participated in engaging worship and thoughtful preaching.

I also attended workshops that focused on inter-generational ministry and understanding generational theories . There was a workshop on the “I Generation” which encompasses most of our young children today. We explored how the world looks for them and ways in which we can engage them in faith formation given the current challenges of technology and society today.

The final workshop I attended was for pastors that focused on intentional worship practices. That particular workshop was very reaffirming because many of the suggestions that the presenter suggested are things that I have been incorporating in worship for many years and have brought into practice in our congregation.

I am grateful for the time away to be refreshed and reminded of the ministry we are called to do. I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with Sara as we think about ministry together and moving forward. I am grateful for the renewing of relationships and for having the opportunity to meet educators who are close to San Antonio, educators who come with a wealth of knowledge and experience from the PCUSA and Cumberland Presbyterian Church as well as several other denominations. I look forward to the gathering again in Little Rock, Arkansas, when the educators meet again.

Peace and blessings to you all. Rev. Elise Renee Neal.