After the Call: Practical Principles for Elder-Led Congregational Change
What happens after you hear the still, small voice? How do you move through the waters of change to new ground? In one Northern Virginia church, an elder-led season of discernment led to a new vision and mission, refocused ministry areas, reinvigorated leadership, and a reorganized administrative structure to support it all. Help your session with its journey of transformation by learning the practical strategies and guiding principles we discovered from successes and missteps along the way.
Jenny Lansbury is a ruling elder at Falls Church Presbyterian. Outside of her engagement in transformative work at the church, she is a twentieth-century cultural historian working on her second book.
Diane Walton Hendricks has served at Falls Church Presbyterian Church for 15+ years as the congregation has sought to grow in faithfulness. Sometimes it takes a lot of wandering before finally crossing over to a new way of being church!
Kerry Searle Grannis is a ruling elder at Falls Church Presbyterian. She lives in Annandale, VA with her husband and 3 children. When not working on giant church projects, you can find her working at a Washington, DC think tank as an administrator.
Automated Sin: Algorithmic Redlining and Societal Well-Being
What happens when followers of Jesus encounter corporations like Cambridge Analytica? This workshop will speak to the issue of algorithm automation and data privacy as an issue of practical theology for our youth and society. We’ll introduce what automation and personal data is and how it works, and why the issues of sovereignty, forgiveness, and agency matter to practicing Christians in democratic societies. The goal is to leave the workshop having a firm basic knowledge of how these issues impact youth and society. This is a PWYA recommended workshop.
Rev. Annanda G. Barclay is the associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto. She’s a futurist thinker, a digital human rights advocate, and a full advocate for well-being through spiritual growth.
Being Theologically Creative in an Age of Polarization
In a polarizing time, the intersection of theology and practice is a creative place for transformation. Stories of resistance from around the world are a counter-narrative to our nation’s normal newsfeed. Come and explore leadership to expand the reformation here and now toward God’s imagined future.
Revs. Drs. Elizabeth & Lee Hinson-Hasty partner to navigate church, world, academy, and family in transformative ways.
Elizabeth is professor and chair of theology at Bellarmine University and is elected to the PC(USA) Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee. Her most recent book is The Problem of Wealth (Orbis 2017).
Lee is senior director for Theological Education Funds Development at the PC(USA) Foundation. He has chaired the Forum for Theological Exploration board and now is a trustee for the Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia.
Care for the Soldier’s Soul: What Every Pastor Needs to know about Moral Injury and the VA
It is absolutely critical that faith communities play a more active role in coming alongside our warriors’ healing journeys. In this workshop, participants will learn how to assess for and minister to veterans suffering from moral injury. They will also learn the basic structure of the VA, which congregants are likely to use it, and what resources are available for churches. Limitations of the VA will be covered as well as the rich opportunities for faith communities to step in.
Rev. Erin D. McArdel is a board certified chaplain serving as the palliative care and hospice chaplain at the Seattle VA hospital. Erin also serves as a parish associate minister at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, WA.
Rev. Linda Conyers serves as a staff chaplain at the Seattle VA hospital, serving on interdisciplinary care teams in both mental health and substance abuse outpatient clinics. She is endorsed by the Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel, and board certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and the National Association of VA Chaplains (NAVAC).
Rev. Kelly Wadsworth, PhD (PCUSA) is lead pastor of Alki Church in Seattle, WA. Her graduate work focused on religion and psychology with her undergraduate focus on economics and public policy. She is both a war veteran and an antiwar activist.
Community, Economy, and Mutual Delight: Where Will You Focus Your Mission?
Funders often want to know: “How many contact hours did you have? How many volunteers? How many young people were involved? How much food did you deliver?” What if we asked questions about what we really want to know? Are people healthier, is there more joy, and are we better connected? Come hear two of our National Gathering keynoters talk about how to help you gain focus for your mission around what really matters.
De’Amon is a lay member of Broadway United Methodist Church and is known around the world as “The Roving Listener.”
Mike is the pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis (since 2003). He is also the author of Having Nothing, Possessing Everything: Finding Abundant Communities in Unexpected Places.
Both De’Amon and Mike are faculty of the Asset Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University. Their friendship has been the best teacher of community development and the Gospel that they have.
Complicated Memories, Interlocked Histories: Racial Justice and the LGBTQIA+ Community
Racism and heterosexism are so deeply ingrained that many of us don’t see their impact on our lives and communities. Trusting God’s faithfulness gives us strength to move through even the roughest waters together. Join leaders doing ministry at the intersection of racial justice & LGBTQIA+ justice. Learn how racism and heterosexism function as a two-headed beast, pitting us against one another and even against parts of ourselves, and how to take action to integrate racial justice tactics in your ministry.
Rev. Jessica Vazquez Torres, B.A., M.Div. (she/her) is the national program coordinator for CrossRoads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training. A native of Puerto Rico, Jessica identifies as a “1.5 generation Queer ESL Latina of Puerto Rican descent.”
Rev. Shanea D. Leonard, B.A., M.Div. (they/them) is a pastor, teacher, consultant, community activist, and justice warrior. They currently carry out their justice mandate as the national associate for gender & racial justice for the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Rev. Alex Patchin McNeill, B.A., M.Div. (he/him) has served as the executive director of More Light Presbyterians since 2013. A coach, capacity-builder, and sought-after trainer, Alex was the first openly transgender man to be ordained in the PC(USA).
Rev. Jess Cook, B.F.A., M.F.A., M.Div. (they/them) is the program & communications manager for More Light Presbyterians. Their work is about creating spaces where all of God’s children know they are seen and loved. Jess was the first openly non-binary person ordained in the PC(USA).
Dealing with Difficult People
Why do some people in your congregation shoot down every idea, while others want to please everyone? How do you respond to staff members when they whine and play the victim, get defensive and explode, or just shut down? In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn:
– Why some people are so difficult
– 4 proven techniques that work with all difficult types
– When (maybe) you might be difficult too
This session is specifically designed for everyone who works with humans!
Kelly Deutsch is a professional coach, international speaker, and bestselling author of the book, Spiritual Wanderlust: The Field Guide to Deep Desire. When she isn’t exploring the interior life, you might find her wandering under big skies.
Getting to Know Your Neighbors
For congregations, neighborhood exegesis aims for two different things: (1) learning to be a good neighbor, which means joining itself to the cares, hopes, and passions of its neighborhood; and (2) cultivating a renewed sense of congregational identity (vocation, or calling) in relationship to what God is doing in the neighborhood. This workshop will offer broadly applicable community practices to do both.
Rev. Karen Rohrer is director of the Church Planting Initiative at Pittsburgh Seminary, and founding co-pastor of Beacon, a new church in Philly. Her joys in this work are local ministry, equipping unlikely leaders, and trying new ways to be church.
Jane Larson works with the Church Planting Initiative at Pittsburgh Seminary, convenes a community called Family Dinner, and continues to vision new ways to gather with her neighbors.
The “Little Hours” of Intergenerational Formation for a Sunday Spirituality
It’s no secret that Sundays are the best day of the week to gather all generations. Given this reality, this workshop will explore four “little hours” through which your congregation can practically integrate intergenerational formation. Framed through the idea of “intergenerational holy moments,” this workshop looks at four hours on a typical Sunday – education hour, worship, youth group and family time – that help cultivate intergenerational formation in your congregation. This is a PWYA recommended workshop.
Rev. Jason Brian Santos, PhD, is the mission coordinator for Christian formation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency. He is an ordained teaching elder in the PC (USA) and holds a PhD in practical theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Liz Perraud is the executive director of GenOn Ministries. GenOn trains, resources, and supports Christian communities for discipleship through intergenerational relationships.
Ministry with a Moral Imagination: The Case for Public Witness in the Church
This workshop presents progressive and practical ways to support community engagement as an anchor institution in society. We examine modern and prophetic examples on how to reclaim your social witness and make a positive impact at the individual, community, business, civil, and governance levels. We encourage discussion of incremental and measurable projects, programs, and ideas others have that may lead to positive, long-term, systemic change.
Rev. Antonio Lawrence earned a B.A. from Johnson C. Smith University and a Master of Divinity Princeton Theological Seminary. Rev. Lawrence is presently serving as pastor at the Faith Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro, NC.
The Rev. Kimani Wright earned a degree in management from North Carolina A&T State University and a Master of Divinity from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary. He is pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC.
The New Parish: Connecting Faith Communities Through Place and Story
There is a movement across neighborhoods and denominational lines, a “new parish.” Part of that movement is the Parish Collective. It offers deep support to local churches, faith-based groups, and any follower of Christ that desires to grow roots in their neighborhood and links across cities for parish renewal. Join regional leaders for an introduction to this growing movement.
Rev. Rich Jones (PCUSA) is the pastor of Fleming Road UCC in Cincinnati, and a member of the organizing team for the Parish Collective. He is passionate about connecting people to serve the common good across his city.
Rev. Daniel Hughes (UMC) is the founding pastor of Incline Missional Community, which is dedicated to elevating the Price Hill community in Cincinnati, and is a member of the organizing team for the Parish Collective.
Rev. Sean Gladding is a founding member of Communality and the Fig Tree Collective, missional expressions of the church in Lexington, KY. He is a published author, and speaks regularly on his books; missional living; and addiction, recovery and the church.
Pastoring While Female
Many congregations genuinely believe they are accepting of and ready for a female head of staff and yet the reality can feel otherwise. This workshop will identify some of the particular challenges faced by female clergy and focus on developing internal and external resources to cope with them. What does it take to survive and thrive as women in parish ministry? What are some effective strategies for discerning when challenges in the church are related to gender and for responding effectively?
Amy Miracle is pastor and head of staff at Broad Street Presbyterian Church, Columbus, Ohio. She is currently a facilitator of an all-female cohort of pastors through Macedonian Ministries.
Amy Starr Redwine is the pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia.
The two workshop leaders have a combined 35 years in ministry; a combined 20 years as heads of staff.
Talk is Cheap: Getting Serious about Anti-Racism Work in Your Setting
We’ve done bible studies, heard sermons, read books, had thoughtful conversations, even attended workshops. But how do we actually bring to reality all the words we’ve written, heard, spoken? Taking seriously the call to address racism in a predominantly white denomination, two white pastors share some ways we’ve tried, failed, and tried again to take some next steps with our congregations in anti-racism work. We will provide space to share and workshop practical examples and best practices for every level of engagement with the goal of taking the “us” beyond ourselves and into the community.
Rev. Debra Avery (she/they) is a small church pastor and New Worshipping Community organizer for Justice House in Oakland, California, an organizer, and a communication consultant who is committed to living anti-racism as a daily practice.
Rev. Erin Counihan (she/her) serves as pastor at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO, where together we keep trying new ways to show wild, radical love to our neighbors and bring change in our community.
What Do These Stories Mean? Weaving Your Faith and Reproductive Story Together
Reproductive justice is one of the third-rail issues affecting our politics today. We hear noise from all over the spectrum. Rarely do we consider the issue from a faith perspective. This workshop starts with story. Your story. No matter who we are, we all have a reproductive story, even if we have never had children. These stories are our stones that weave us together in God’s story. Join us as we practice telling our reproductive stories and connecting them to our faith journey.
Angela Williams, outreach and faith organizer with Texas Freedom Network, is a queer Presbyterian living in Austin, TX. She works organizing LGBTQ equality and reproductive freedom at the state level in Texas.
Sonja Miller, a lifelong Presbyterian, and outreach and faith director with Texas Freedom Network, directs Just Texas: Faith Voices for Reproductive Freedom creating culture change by countering the toxic faith narrative around abortion in Texas.
Worshiping & Singing Together
Employing Nancy Eiesland’s seminal text “The Disabled God” as a textual guide, participants will examine the ways in which our practices of Christian worship and song can more fully seek and enact justice with and for those of us with disabilities. Participants will glean thoughtful ways to think about inclusion from a disability justice perspective, drawing on the principles of learning styles and intelligence types beyond IQ. We will look at worship bulletins and congregational songs as we think creatively about how best to craft worship with a commitment to access within our own communities.
Alexandra Mauney is a pastoral resident at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is a lifelong musician and lover of hymnody, and has written for such denominational publications as Call to Worship and The Word In Season.
Katy Stenta is pastor at New Covenant & co-founder of TrailPraisers Inclusive New Worshipping Community for all ages, faiths, ands abilities through verbal, meditational, physical, and creative worship.
(OFF-SITE) River City: Towards a More Flourishing Community – Another Tale of Two Cities
This up-close and personal walk-shop profiles the past, present and future of Cincinnati and its implications for us as a nation. Focusing particularly on local socio-economic, racial and political developments and divides, the tour takes one from the conference room chair to the recently completed riverbanks where off-main street development has attracted new residents, employers, and visitors alike; all the while subjugating its low to moderate income residents to age-old norms of inequity and exclusion.
This is an off-site workshop that will involve walking.
Ronnie Matthew Harris is gifted with an uncanny knack for connecting people, places and things, Harris invokes decades of experience to probe his greatest interest- the intersectionality between human flourishing, sustainable faith communities, racial equity, mobility and justice.