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.
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.