WORKSHOP INFORMATION

Workshops

Below, you will find titles and descriptions for the workshops being offered during the 2018 National Gathering. Workshop descriptions (and information about their leaders) follows the chart below. Click on a workshop name in the chart to head directly to its corresponding description.

This year, we’re offering a worship planning track, listed at the top of the table below. Participants must sign up for all three blocks to participate in the track.

BLOCK 1 – MONDAY

BLOCK 2 – TUESDAY

BLOCK 3 – TUESDAY

LITURGY TRACK – Liturgy as a Practice of Freedom: Creating and Planning Worship in Your Congregation AND at the National Gathering!
Ashley Goff & Erin Counihan

LITURGY TRACK – Liturgy as a Practice of Freedom: Creating and Planning Worship in Your Congregation AND at the National Gathering!
Ashley Goff & Erin Counihan

LITURGY TRACK – Liturgy as a Practice of Freedom: Creating and Planning Worship in Your Congregation AND at the National Gathering!
Ashley Goff & Erin Counihan

Beauty in the Wilderness
Nicole Farley

Beneath the Cross of Jesus
Don Meeks

The Art of the Desert Journey: What the Creative Process Might Teach Us About Blooming
Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Coaching for Transformation
MaryAnn McKibben Dana & LeAnn Hodges

Church People and Antiracist Media Consumption: Microaggressions, Cultural Realities, and Consuming Television Diversity
Laura Cheifetz

Beautiful Constraints and Propelling Questions
Victoria White

Creating a Culture of Generosity
Robert Hay

Collaging the Impossible Future
Sarah Jordan

Seeing with New Eyes: How the Disciplines of Community Organizing Enable Leaders to See and Create Life in Desolate Places
Kathleen O’Toole

Creativity, Innovation and Risk in Faith Formation
Rebecca Davis

Communities of Resistance
Emily Brewer & Sarah Sommers

Intergenerational Ministry: The Why and How
Liz Perraud

Design Thinking for Complex Problems
Victoria White & Chris Bennett

Crisis, Catalyst, & Calling: Shifting Focus To What Matters Most
Charlie Lee

The Possibilities of the Intersectional Church
John Cleghorn & Adriene Thorne

How to Prevent Gun Violence in Your Community: What Presbyterians Can Do
Margery Rossi

Ideological Division in the Wilderness: Can We Talk?
Ken McFayden

Jesus and the Disinherited
Therese Taylor-Stinson

It is Time to Make a Change
Shani McIlwain

In Ministry Together: How Laity Can Embrace Their Call
Ann Michel

Leadership Essentials for Laity
Ann Michel

Keep Your Eyes on the Road: Staying Focused on Core Mission
Mark Elsdon

An Introduction to Cultivated Ministry: Bearing Fruit through Theology, Accountability, Learning, and Storytelling
John Vest

Joining God in the Wilderness: Public Education, Social Transformation and Children At-Risk
Rebecca Davis & Alonzo Johnson

Marriage in the Bible: Working Through Relevant Passages
Jennifer Bird

Prayer as Rest: Inviting Youth to Be Still
Jeremy Bork

Leading Fully and Freely: Deepening Spiritual Authority Around Issues of Money
Mike Little

Monday Morning Greek Freaks
Mark Davis

A Prison in Bloom
Hans Hallundbaek & Douglass DeCandia

Rain Drop, Drop Top, How to See God Through Hip-Hop
Joaquin Ross & Jacob Kennedy

Racial Integration and Reconciliation: How a Cemetery Changed a “White’s Only” Congregation
Sam McGregor

Public Policy Ministry 101
Owen Gray

Shouting Crocuses: Increasing Flexibility in Congregations
Karen Chamis

Renewing the Voice and Spirit of Choirs
Paul Vasile

Songs for the Journey
Justin Ritchie, Jesy Littlejohn & LeeAnn Hodges

Tending the Entire Garden: A Fresh Approach to Faithful Conversations About ALL Relationships (Including Sex)
Michael Kirby

The 57%
Sue Krummel

Sunday School Comes Alive: Putting the Gifts of the Whole Church to Work
Rachel Vaagenes & Susan Graceson

Trauma and Confession – Telling Truth in Wounded Landscapes
McKenna Lewellen

When Activism is Not Enough
Andrew Foster Connors & Bishop Douglas Miles

No Longer With Us: Intersection of Race and Poverty
Denise Anderson & Jan Edmiston

Watering the Sand? Church Communications in the 21st Century
Jo Nygard Owens

Circus Arts in Worship: Embracing the Unexpected in the Wilderness (OFF SITE)
Jennifer Barchi

Circus Arts in Worship: Embracing the Unexpected in the Wilderness (OFF SITE)
Jennifer Barchi

Workshop Block 1 – Monday

Liturgy as a Practice of Freedom: Creating and Planning Worship in Your Congregation AND at the National Gathering!

In this track of workshops, we will explore ways to create, plan, write, and practice collaborative worship in your congregation. With inspiration from an approach to creative worship planning from Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, DC, and influences from community organizing and street activism, Ashley and Erin will help us explore how collaborative worship planning helps break the old church mold, and frees us from systems of hierarchy and injustice in our worship and liturgy.

As part of this track, participants will be asked to do some daydreaming and creative thinking outside the workshop times. Participants will also use their worship planning skills and creativity by planning, designing, and writing liturgy for the closing worship service for the National Gathering.

Part 1: Exploring – Talking about the principles of worship planning
Part 2: Digging Deeper – What does collaborative worship planning mean for your congregation?
Part 3: Time to Create! – Planning the closing worship service for National Gathering

Participants must sign up for all three workshops in order to participate in this track! Space is limited, so we recommend registering early to participate in this track.

Ashley Goff is one of the pastors at Church of the Pilgrims PC(USA) and thrives on creative, compassionate, prophetic, binary-bashing liturgy.

Erin Counihan serves as pastor at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Mo and moderator of the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy.

Beauty in the Wilderness

As we talk about the desert in bloom, sand comes readily to mind. Anakin Skywalker may have said “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere,” yet there’s beauty to be found in it. We’ll connect art to the stories with sand painting, and you’ll learn how to bring the project home after the National Gathering for little cost and meaningful effect for all ages and skill levels. The piece you make will become part of our worship and can be taken home when the conference is done!

This workshop will take place in the Gathering’s Spirituality Studio. Space is limited, so we recommend registering early to participate in this workshop.

Nicole Farley is a PC(USA) pastor. She most recently served a congregation in Wisconsin, and now serves as the founder and pastoral artist with A New Creation, an arts ministry which brings communities into the creation of worship-ful art together.

Coaching for Transformation

Today’s church leaders are called upon to be spiritual guides, community organizers, and pastoral counselors. What about coaches? With its emphasis on action and accountability, coaching is a powerful tool for helping individuals and teams move out of their wilderness wanderings and make visions a reality. In this workshop you will learn and practice basic coaching techniques to help transform your sessions, committees, and congregations.

MaryAnn McKibben Dana is a writer, speaker, coach, and “free-range pastor” living in Reston, VA. She was co-chair of NEXT Church for two years, and is a frequent speaker and workshop leader throughout the church.

LeAnn Hodges is the pastor of Oaklands Presbyterian Church in Laurel, MD.  She is passionate about congregational transformation, with a background in organizational development, family systems, leadership coaching, and improv.

Creating a Culture of Generosity

Is your congregation’s approach to stewardship stuck in a rut? Are you living in a state of scarcity and longing for abundance?   This workshop will outline a program that has moved churches from a four-week stewardship campaign to a year-round culture of generosity. Learn how to form your Generosity Team, how to create an activities calendar for your church’s funds ministry, how to prepare a narrative budget, and how to integrate all aspects of your church into the life of generosity.

Robert Hay is the Ministry Relations Officer covering the southeast region (MS, AL, GA, FL, TN, and Puerto Rico) from the Presbyterian Foundation. He lives in Peachtree City, GA with his wife, Rev Morgan Hay, and their two young children.

Creativity, Innovation, and Risk in Faith Formation

Faith formation, in a church that lives between what-was and what-will be, is in need of a new way of thinking. Through the interplay of curiosity, creativity, innovation and risk new ways of growing in the life of faith are engendered so that the identity and practices of God’s people are strengthened, deepened and enlivened. Let’s move beyond the comfortable confines of the curriculum box and the fear of failure as we dare to risk for the sake of the Gospel and its witness in the world.

Rebecca Davis is Associate Professor of Religion at Presbyterian College and a member of the Educate a Child Advisory Council for the PC(USA).

Design Thinking for Complex Problems

Innovation and design thinking are buzzwords gaining lots of traction in our culture. So what do they mean for the church? Design thinking is about identifying and working within given constraints to arrive at innovative and generative solutions. Explore design thinking through a gamified experience to address complex problems and social ills. Participants will walk away with practical and actionable design tools that can be applied in their context.

Chris Bennett is a consultant and facilitator with The Spark Mill. He has spent over 15 years leading in small, medium and large congregations. The Spark Mill works with a variety of organizations to help them flourish.

Victoria White is the Director of Grants at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity where she encourages traditioned innovation among Christian institutions and their leaders through teaching, writing, networking, resourcing, and grant making.

How to Prevent Gun Violence in your Community: What Presbyterians Can Do

Events of gun violence seem to be more and more frequent. It can feel overwhelming and scary. But we can take concrete and reasonable steps to prevent gun violence in our communities and help. Come find out how Presbyterian congregations are helping their communities flourish & bloom by working to end gun violence and how you can too. We’ll also think together about how to do this in new ways and places. If you’re already doing this work or new to this work, you and your ideas are welcome.

Margery Rossi is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Wappingers Falls, NY, and a member of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Activist Council. She has led vigils for victims of gun violence & helped create the PC(USA) policy on gun violence prevention.

It is Time to Make a Change

Change your mindset, change your life. More often than not, we get in a desert experience and think that we will never get to the promises God has for us. We are stuck in the valley in our minds. This session is a reminder that when we change our mindset, as Paul teaches, we can change our life.

Shani McIlwain is an author and speaker who through pain has found her purpose and passion in teaching others how to develop a personal and spiritual relationship with God.  She serves as deacon, Christian education coordinator, and other leadership roles at Faith Presbyterian Church in Washington DC.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road: Staying Focused on Core Mission

There are countless good ideas out there, infinite causes worth supporting, and endless options for how to spend energy, time, and money. But many of these ideas are distractions from the real direction you and your organization are headed. Staying focused on your core mission is key to success. This session will explore the importance of remaining focused on core mission, and provide practical tools for saying “yes” to the right things and “no” to everything else.

Mark Elsdon is executive director/pastor at Pres House, a campus ministry and apartment community at the University of Wisconsin. Mark has a BA from UC Berkeley, an M.Div from Princeton Seminary, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.

Marriage in the Bible: Working Through Relevant Passages

Are you comfortably conversant on the biblical passages relevant to the same-sex marriage issue? Do you have some folks in your congregation who are not but would like to be? This workshop will go beyond “Let Love Win!” and discuss the passages “Biblical Marriage” proponents point to; offer a review of the so-called “clobber passages”; and engage additional passages that are not often, if ever, involved, specifically as related to marriages in the Bible and the role of sex in this conversation.

Jennifer Bird is an adjunct professor at the University of Portland. She received her PhD in New Testament and Early Christianity from Vanderbilt University and her MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary). Jennifer is a Huffington Post blogger and author of Permission Granted–Take the Bible into Your Own Hands.

Monday Morning Greek Freaks

Many pastors wonder what to do with the Greek we were privileged (forced) to enjoy (endure) while in seminary. Let’s explore how such a thing can be valuable. Without pretending that Greek texts answer every question and eschewing the temptation to use a Greek word to “pull rank,” we will study some texts to discern together how this kind of disciplined approach to Scripture might make a difference in life and ministry. We may watch highlights of Giannis Antetokoumpo along the way.

Mark Davis is the pastor of St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach and blogs regularly his weekly exegesis at leftbehindandloving.blogspot.com.

Racial Integration and Reconciliation: How a Cemetery Changed a “White’s Only” Congregation

How can congregations with histories of racial exclusion come to terms with their past and become truly integrated? In this workshop we will hear the journey of one congregation that discovered that its “slave cemetery” was the key to a new vision of truth-telling, confession, healing, reconciliation, evangelism, integration, and global ministry. Participants will be invited to share their own congregational stories of racial conflicts and ideas will be shared about how to move forward.

Sam McGregor is pastor of Allison Creek Presbyterian Church in York, SC. The church has been restoring and learning the stories of the “Clay Hill Cemetery” which contains the remains of enslaved and free African-Americans from the 19th Century.

Renewing the Voice and Spirit of Choirs

Shrinking and aging choirs have left many congregations feeling insecure, anxious and de-energized. We’ll reflect on strategies to renew the voices and spirits of smaller vocal ensembles, as well as organizational models and repertoire that can help choirs connect to the mission, schedules, and needs within their community.

Paul Vasile is a freelance church musician, consultant, and composer based in New York City. A multitalented musician and dynamic worship leader, he is committed to building, renewing, and re-shaping faith communities through music and liturgy.

The 57%

Fifty-seven percent of PC(USA) congregations have 100 or fewer members. Pastors, leaders of these congregations, members of Committees on Ministry, presbytery leaders and others have a call to help these congregations to discern God’s future for their ministries. This workshop will be a space to share the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” all of these leaders experience in working with these congregations.

Sue Krummel is the transitional pastor of a 60-member congregation. She has previously served as pastor of churches with memberships ranging from 30-1,300, as a presbytery leader, and as national staff.

When Activism Is Not Enough

Protests, vigils and marches play a key role at critical moments in public life. But acting without organizing and reflecting can wear folks out and deepen cynicism when change doesn’t come. Religious institutions can harness our collective power to negotiate and achieve lasting systemic change by engaging issues strategically, effectively and faithfully over the long haul. Come reflect on integrating activism without being subsumed by it and envision broadening your own ministry of engagement.

Andrew Foster Connors is pastor of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore and clergy co-chair of the community organization Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD). Bishop Miles is pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church and co-chair emeritus of BUILD.

Workshop Block 2 – Tuesday

Liturgy as a Practice of Freedom: Creating and Planning Worship in Your Congregation AND at the National Gathering!

Track part 2 – participants must sign up for all three workshops in order to participate.

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

This workshop is less about three or five things to DO in working for justice in our world, but more of an extended reflection on how the Cross of Jesus can shape our daily lives and ministry. How can we appropriate the work of Jesus on the Cross when (not if) we hit roadblocks and frustrations in our engagement with principalities and powers? Participants will be challenged to embrace the cruciform life rather than react with discouragement, anger or hostility.

Don Meeks is the pastor of Greenwich Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia. He is active in the Fellowship Community within National Capital Presbytery. His vision is to invite people to experience and express Christ-likeness in all of life.

Church People and Antiracist Media Consumption: Microaggressions, Cultural Realities, and Consuming Television Diversity

We who are church people are also consumers of media in the secular world, where we can see a blossoming of portrayals of people of color on their own terms. What can contemporary television teach those of us in a predominantly white denomination about cultural identity, racial formation, and micro-aggressions (subtle everyday unconscious denigrations directed at someone based on their group identity), so we don’t repeat those mistakes?

Laura Mariko Cheifetz serves the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and is a member of the NEXT Church Strategy Team. She lives in Decatur, GA, with her spouse and their two Shih Tzus.

Collaging the Impossible Future

The prophets, both ancient and contemporary, share a vision of God’s kindom, an impossible future: where deserts bloom, where families aren’t separated by borders, where prisoners are free, where transgender people can live without fear, where the first are last and the last are first. We will engage work from artists who are queer and/or persons of color and our own experiences of the divine. Then, we will use a process of collaborative collage to imagine this future closer to possible.

This workshop will take place in the Gathering’s Spirituality Studio. Space is limited, so we recommending registering early to participate in this workshop.

Sarah Jordan is the pastoral resident at Friendship Presbyterian Church in Chicago, IL. She’s interested in the intersections of theology, justice work, art, and speculative fiction. As an artist, she  works mainly with recycled materials in paper and fiber arts.

Communities of Resistance

We are called to desert places and to walk alongside people who are forced to wander in the desert and seek refuge. But the desert is also a space for honesty and resistance. This workshop will look at examples of communities of resistance to gain a deeper understanding of the principles and practices of nonviolence. Learn how you and your congregation can also resist the violence and oppression of white supremacy here in the US through active non-violence and speaking truth to power.

Emily Brewer is the executive director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, an organization committed to active nonviolence that does work through partnerships primarily in the US, Colombia, and Palestine and Israel.

Sarah Sommers is the training coordinator for Christian Peacemaker Teams. She has spent the last 10 years as part of the Latin America solidarity movement. She leads trainings around the world in non-violence, undoing oppressions, and more.

Crisis, Catalyst, and Calling: Shifting Focus To What Matters Most

Many congregations have the experience of enduring crisis after crisis without ever gaining long-term traction. This can leave members of our faith communities exhausted and dejected. This interactive workshop will focus on strategies that can help congregations pull free from a culture of crisis and find new catalysts for change that enable them to focus on God’s calling. A broad range of topics will be discussed such as models for strategic planning, Appreciative Inquiry, and program evaluation.

Charlie Lee is an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, NC. He received a D. Min. degree in 2015 from McCormick Theological Seminary. His primary focus of study was on the implementation of formative evaluation in congregations.

Ideological Division in the Wilderness: Can We Talk?

If we value the presence of the church in the world, how do we work with the presence of the world in the church? To what degree are members and leaders of faith communities able to work from common ground in the midst of diverse political and social convictions? This workshop will explore opportunities and strategies through which people with diverse perspectives and positions may explore and experience genuine and substantive conversations in a time of ideological polarization.

Ken McFayden serves as academic dean and Professor of Ministry and Leadership Development at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.

In Ministry Together: How Laity Can Embrace Their Call

This workshop will explore a more inclusive, synergistic paradigm of ministry that includes the work of lay leaders and church professionals who are not ordained clergy. Participants will be given the opportunity to consider how God’s call is active in their life and their work, and to claim a clear theological identity as ministry leaders.

Ann Michel is a seminary-educated lay person who serves as associate director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. She is author of Synergy: A Leadership Guide for Church Staff and Volunteers.

An Introduction to Cultivated Ministry: Bearing Fruit through Theology, Accountability, Learning, and Storytelling

How do we measure success in ministry when the traditional metrics of membership, attendance, and financial support seem out of touch with the realities of our post-Christendom contexts? Cultivated Ministry is a culture shift and approach to ministry that is committed to rigorous assessment, evaluation, and (re)design aimed at nurturing thoughtful expressions of God’s mission in the world. It does not rest on traditional metrics, nor does it abdicate accountability. This workshop will give participants an overview of the four interlocking components of Cultivated Ministry: Theology of Bearing Fruit, Mutual Accountability, Assessment for Learning, and Transformative Storytelling.

Please note: there is a Post-Gathering seminar on Cultivated Ministry that will delve more deeply and train people in the use of these four components. The seminar and workshop are different, but will overlap.

John Vest is a ‘church hacker’ attempting to overcome the limitations of church as we know it. He is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Evangelism at Union Presbyterian Seminary and served on the task force that developed the Cultivated Ministry resource.

Prayer as Rest: Inviting Youth to be Still

In my experience with youth, I am ever amazed at the stress, restlessness, and busyness in the lives of teenagers. I believe young people are longing for ways to slow down, breathe, and be still, but too often the electricity of youth ministry fails to meet this need. Join me as we breathe new life into ancient prayer practices and wonder together how we might create sacred space for youth to be still so they might experience deeper connection with God, their neighbor, and their truest self.

Jeremy Bork is minister for youth at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, MI, and serves as a spiritual leader and mentor to middle school & high school youth. Jeremy’s previous experience includes work in the RCA in Iowa and New York, campus ministry, and camping ministry.

A Prison in Bloom

Prisons and jails throughout the country are “deserts and parched lands” where incarcerated women and men are languishing in isolation and wilderness. This workshop will review proven community-led vocational, academic, artistic, and spiritual outreach initiatives. We will also discuss a new concept: community gardens on prison grounds, tended by both inmates and community members. All contribute to the healing of mind, body, and spirit; give inmates skills; and drastically reduce recidivism.

Hans Hallundbaek is the coordinator for the Hudson River Presbytery’s Prison Partnership Program. He has served as an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is the International Prison Chaplains Association’s NGO representative to the United Nations.

Doug DeCandia is an organic farmer employed by Westchester Food Bank to grow food on five farms, which serve as places for experiential education and therapeutic healing. He is the main caretaker of the farm at the Westchester Correctional Facility in New York.

Public Policy Ministry 101

Does God have something to say about the decisions of our elected officials? How can people from diverse communities of faith speak prophetically into the government policy-making process? Come hear how about the ten-year journey of a group from central Virginia who answered those questions, and collaborate with others to discern how your church or presbytery might cross partisan lines to speak truth to power.

Owen Gray served as liaison for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Public Policy Witness purpose group of the Presbytery of the James. He currently serves as a Lake Fellow in Parish Ministry at Second Church, IN.

Songs for the Journey

As the church strives to embody the diversity of our surrounding communities, how will our worship reflect those who are present without losing the richness of our traditions? Can the old hymns take on new life? Can secular be sacred? In this workshop we will sing familiar songs in new ways, and explore how to incorporate a variety of musical genres into our reformed worship.

Justin Ritchie is the music director of Oaklands Presbyterian Church in Laurel, MD. His favorite part of ministry is equipping musicians to experience genres of music previously unfamiliar to them. He believes all music is sacred with the power to change hearts and minds.

Jesy Littlejohn is the Worship Elder at Oaklands Presbyterian Church. They are passionate about the role that music plays worship, believing that the Spirit is at work through music to reach all corners of the world, as well as the sanctuary.

LeAnn Hodges is the pastor of Oaklands Presbyterian Church.  She is passionate about congregational transformation, with a background in organizational development, family systems, leadership coaching, and improv.

Sunday School Comes Alive: Putting the Gifts of the Whole Church to Work

Children’s ministry works best when kids are engaged in the ministry of the whole church. So we have duct-taped together everything that works in our own contexts (bits of VBS, Godly Play, Sparkhouse, etc.) and combined them with the gifts, stories, and ministries of our congregations. This is intergenerational, impactful, transformative education for both kids and adults. In our workshop, we want to share our stories and help you think about the resources and possibilities in your context.

Rachel Vaagenes is the pastor for Christian education at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington DC. She uses her M.Div and gift for improvisation to lead adult and children’s ministries into the next faithful step of their journey.

Susan Graceson is the pastor for children’s ministry and elder nurture at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean, VA. She has 12 years experience leading children’s ministry, teaching Sunday School, facilitating parenting workshops, and leading family retreats.

No Longer With Us: Intersection of Race and Poverty

The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” Jesus’ words have long been used to justify the existence of poverty, but was that really his intention? In conversation with their “One Church, One Book” project, join the Co-moderators of the 222nd General Assembly as we re-contextualize Jesus’ words, look at the intersections of race and poverty, and examine how we may fight systemic racism in the very systems where it exists.

Denise Anderson is the pastor at Unity Presbyterian Church in Temple Hills, MD and a member of the NEXT Church Strategy Team.

Jan Edmiston is writer and teacher in the PC(USA). She blogs at https://achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.com.

Denise and Jan are the co-moderators of the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA).

Circus Arts in Worship: Embracing the Unexpected in the Wilderness

In 2015, with two years of wandering in the wilderness of redevelopment behind us, members of Dickey Memorial’s congregation started the Religious Aerial Performance Troupe (RAPT), which brought aerial circus arts into worship. In this workshop members of the troupe will perform an aerial liturgical piece, offer participants the opportunity to try the equipment, and share lessons learned that are applicable across many contexts. All are welcome regardless of ability (perceived or otherwise) – those who wish to try the equipment should wear athletic clothing without zippers.

This workshop will take up both blocks on Tuesday afternoon (you will not be able to sign up for a workshop in block 3) and is OFF SITE at Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church, about 25 minutes away from the hotel. Participants will be responsible for transportation to/from the workshop (we’d recommend Lyft).

Jennifer Barchi is the pastor of Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. She is the author of The Joy of Thieves, and loves hanging from the ceiling on aerial skills.

Workshop Block 3 – Tuesday

Liturgy as a Practice of Freedom: Creating and Planning Worship in Your Congregation AND at the National Gathering!

Track part 3 – participants must sign up for all three workshops in order to participate.

The Art of the Desert Journey: What the Creative Process Might Teach Us About Blooming

We often discern the blossoms in our desert journeys when looking back, long after we’ve moved beyond the wilderness. How can we stand still in these desert spaces (of fear, transition, confusion, conflict), to become perceptive observers and active co-creators of what is blooming right before us? Participants will work collaboratively to create multimedia worship art, discerning what the creative process might teach us about discovering the blooms we are quick to miss.

This workshop will take place in the Gathering’s Spirituality Studio. Space is limited, so we recommend registering early to participate in this workshop.

Lisle Gwynn Garrity is a pastor + artist based in Black Mountain, NC. She is the founder and creative director of A Sanctified Art, an arts collective providing multimedia art and resources for worshiping communities.

Beautiful Constraints and Propelling Questions

Constraints are all around us. We see them as hindrances and limitations that affect our ability to take action. In the church, it feels like more constraints arise each day: finances, facilities, staffing, volunteers, etc. But what if we looked at constraints as opportunities rather than deficits? By combining your hopes and ambitions for your organization with your constraints, you can develop helpful propelling questions to strategically move forward with manageable goals and metrics.

Victoria White is the director of grants at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity where she encourages traditioned innovation among Christian institutions and their leaders through teaching, writing, networking, resourcing and grant making.

Seeing with New Eyes: How the Disciplines of Community Organizing Enable Leaders to See and Create Life in Desolate Places

How do you find hope in the midst of a desert? Where do you start when problems seem insurmountable? The disciplines of organizing — developing relationships, identifying leaders, engaging in power analysis, deep listening to people in a particular place — have power to transform a perception of wilderness to one blooming with potential and possibility. Come explore the theology, vision, and practices that make such transformation stories possible.

Kathleen O’Toole is an organizer and poet. She has more than 30 years experience working with communities of faith to strengthen their witness inside and outside the congregation for the purposes of God’s peace and justice.

Intergenerational Ministry: The Why and How

Imagine a church with few children, where generations gather together. Imagine a multi-cultural congregation gathered together instead of dividing. Imagine generations in your church knowing and learning from each other. Is the way we do Christian education changing? You can gather all generations to learn, serve, worship, and play together. Explore the concept of intergenerational ministry and discover why gathering multiple generations together is important for faith development and church growth.

Liz Perraud is executive director of GenOn Ministries. GenOn trains, resources, and supports Christian communities for discipleship through intergenerational relationships. Liz has over 25 years of experience in the field of Christian faith formation.

The Possibilities of the Intersectional Church

The “desert is in bloom” in a new way in a handful of urban, Presbyterian congregations. In what might be called “the intersectional church,” a range of those oppressed and their allies come together “in Christ.” Converging differences of race, sexual orientation, class, and religious backgrounds, these congregations seek to live out the gracious compromise, constructive tension, and glorious messiness that comes with deep, complex diversity that names wounded-ness as part of the body of Christ.

John Cleghorn is pastor/head of staff of Caldwell Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, a missional, intersectional congregation of about 325 reborn from a remnant of open octogenarians in 2006. The workshop springs from his doctoral research in 2017.

Adriene Thorne serves as pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn in New York City, an intersectional  church seeking to tell God’s story of love and justice in creative and transformative ways. 

Jesus and the Disinherited

Through the work of Howard Thurman’s book by the same name written 41 years ago, we will explore how his words, though dated in terms of language and history, still ring true in the lives of the disinherited of the 21st century. Using Thurman’s broad categories of inward reflection, fear, deception, hate, and love, we will reflect on current events and the lives of the disinherited in present circumstances, making our own inward journey to overcome dominance and oppression.

Therese Taylor-Stinson is a spiritual director, editor/author, and founder and managing member of the Spiritual Directors of Color Network, Ltd. Therese is ordained a deacon and elder in the PCUSA, and a former Moderator of the National Capital Presbytery.

Joining God in the Wilderness: Public Education, Social Transformation, and Children At-Risk

“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” (Bonhoeffer) There is disparity in quality public education across race, class, and socio-economic lines, which suggests the threat of a moral crisis for a nation dependent upon an educated citizenry for a healthy republic. How shall the church respond and lead in the wilderness call to improve the lives of children? Explore how you can participate in the “Educate a Child, Transform the World” initiative.

Rebecca Davis is Associate Professor of Religion at Presbyterian College and a member of the Educate a Child Advisory Council for the PCUSA.

Alonzo Johnson serves on the national staff of the PCUSA as the Coordinator of the Presbyterian Committee for the Self-Development of People and the convener of the Educate a Child Advisory Council.

Leadership Essentials for Laity

This workshop will equip lay leaders and church professionals who are not ordained clergy with some of the basic skills essential to effective church leadership. Beginning with the premise that all leadership is relational, the workshop will consider team building, recruiting, and how to develop others as leaders.

Ann Michel is a seminary-educated lay person who serves as associate director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. She is author of Synergy: A Leadership Guide for Church Staff and Volunteers.

Leading Fully and Freely: Deepening Spiritual Authority Around Issues of Money

In many churches, issues of money and budget are wilderness places: leaders must navigate competing priorities, anxiety about scarcity, and the perennial stewardship campaign. One way to lead with deeper spiritual authority is to work with the ways in which we ourselves are not free with respect to money. In this workshop we will reflect on our own money stories and the practice of leading by example. What is our theology of money? How do we model a faithful relationship to money?

Mike Little leads the inward and outward work of Faith and Money Network as director. Mike fosters relationships with individuals and churches, leading discussions on the role of money in our lives as people of faith and as the community of faith.

Rain Drop, Drop Top, How to See God Through Hip-Hop

Just as scripture invites us to view the world in a different way, so too can music. Hip hop’s prophetic voice can help the church begin to bridge cultural and communal divides by giving voice to the experiences of struggle so that the community of faith can better understand and empathize with one another and join together in God’s work in the world. This workshop will challenge preconceived notions about hip-hop and provide practical suggestions for incorporating this music in your ministry.

Joaquin Ross is a first-year student at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He loves to watch sports, and spends time listening to new music. If you can’t find Joaquin out with friends, he’s deep inside his Greek codex.

Jacob Kennedy is a senior at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. He loves to watch hockey, and read many different books. If you can’t find Jacob out with friends, you can find him studying politics and reading sermons of William Sloane Coffin.

Shouting Crocuses: Increasing Flexibility in Congregations

Isaiah 35 states that crocuses will shout – an image that requires a significant stretch of the imagination! How might we help encourage congregations to stretch and to be more flexible in thought and action? This workshop begins with a ‘Theology of Adaptability’ as well as a short primer on organizational theory as well as barriers to flexibility. We will quickly move to some practical ways to increase adaptability in congregations and other organizations.

Karen Chamis is the Director of Congregational Development and Mission for National Capital Presbytery. She’s a PhD candidate at Eastern University in Organizational Leadership, where she’s focused on adaptive change in organizational culture.

Tending the Entire Garden: A Fresh Approach to Faithful Conversations About ALL Relationships (Including Sex)

For too long, we have segregated talk and teaching concerning intimate sexual relationships into a discrete topic, as if these are ethically distinct from other relationships. We’ve built a wall around sexual intimacy in God’s blooming garden. The workshop will explore a more holistic approach, principally relying on Luke/Acts and Isaiah, that seeks to suss out a way your church can explore a cohesive set of ethical standards that would apply to all personal and professional relationships.

A former litigation/appellate attorney, Michael Kirby is head of staff at Northminster Presbyterian just north of Chicago. He serves on the Presbytery Council, Synod PJC, and co-moderates Evanston4All, an interfaith community organizing effort in Evanston.

Trauma and Confession: Telling Truth in Wounded Landscapes

Trauma overwhelms us, dismembers certainty and safety, and reconfigures familiar landscapes. From this wounded terrain, profoundly theological questions emerge about truth, the possibility of new life, and what it means to be human. This workshop offers basic frameworks for understanding trauma, looks for the ways wounds give new texture to what it means to tell truths about ourselves (confess), and closes with a collaborative exploration of how telling those truths might take root in worship.

McKenna Lewellen is a writer and teacher whose work emerges from the intersection of trauma and theology. She currently lives in Baltimore, where she serves as program coordinator at The Center, a mission initiative of the Baltimore Presbytery.

Watering the Sand? Church Communications in the 21st Century

We communicate the Good News through preaching and teaching. We communicate compassion through caring and outreach. We have been well trained in verbal and written forms of communication, but have we been trained in visual communication? Newsletters (digital or print), social media, blogs, and websites are all places that the church can tell its story through words and images. In this workshop, learn more about using these mediums effectively.

Jo Nygard Owens lives Greensboro, NC, where she runs Red Door Creative Resources and freelances by helping churches with their communication needs.

Questions? Email Jen James, our National Gathering coordinator.