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.