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Abide in Me… A Spiritual Purging

January 16–19, 2017

“In me abide as I will abide in you” —John 15:4

In life and in ministry we are often overwhelmed by all the ‘stuff’ that seems to get in our way. The stuff of regret and fear, of broken relationships and broken lives, of expectations and disappointments. How do we find our way forward? How do we purge our lives from the ‘stuff’ in a way that helps us move forward in good mental and spiritual health and enables us to live more fully into real community?

Join us for a retreat to explore ways we can purge ourselves by considering St. Ignatius spiritual concepts of Interior Freedom, Disordered Attachments, and Spiritual Indifference. When we allow ourselves to press more deeply into this type of abiding we are then able to move more freely into community in such a way as to bear more fruit for Jesus.

Online conference registration is now open. Click the registration tab above to register. On-site registration will be open at 11:00 AM Monday, January 16, with welcome and orientation beginning at 5:30. The conference concludes with worship and community celebration at 7:00 PM on Thursday, January 19.

Conference accommodations will be at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, St. Pete Beach, Florida. To qualify for the discounted rate, contact the resort directly at 800-808-9833 and identify yourself as a Presbyterian Church conference attendee. See hotel tab above for complete information.


Persons staying at conference hotel (registration includes 3 lunches and 2 dinners):
Regular: $325
Children aged 3-12-meals only: $150 (optional)
Non-participant Meal Plan: $275 (optional)

Persons not staying at conference hotel (please note, there is a $20 per day parking fee):
Florida Resident Commuter with meals: $325

Registration Deadline: December 19, 2016

Register online

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations made in writing before Dec 15, 2016 will be refunded, minus a $75 handling fee. After Dec 15 refunds will not be available. To cancel, mail written notice to:

Eva Slayton
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY  40202,

or contact her by e-mail at

TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, 5500 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

The resort is located on 18 acres of sugar-white beach directly on the Gulf of Mexico and thirty minutes from Tampa International Airport. In-room amenities include wet bar area with refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and toaster. Ten dining venues are available on site, including a deli and Pizza Hut Express. Beach amenities include cabanas, volleyball, five swimming pools, two whirlpools, and the High Tide Water Slide.

Single and double occupancy rooms: $139 per night. To qualify for the discounted rates, contact the hotel directly. Available for an additional fee:

  • Pet-friendly room
  • Upgrade to ocean view room
  • One- or two-bedroom suite
  • For kids: KONK (Kids Only No Kidding) Drop-off Camps (ages 4-11) and KONK Care at Island Grand (ages 4-12) – Call 727-363-2294 for registration and pricing.

Phone: 800-808-9833 – identify yourself as a Presbyterian Church conference attendee
Reservations must be made by December 15, 2016.

Travel Information

Tampa International Airport is the recommended airport. It is approximately a 30-minute ride between the airport and the conference hotel. The hotel does not provide ground transportation. Super Shuttle provides ground transportation at a discounted rate if booked online:

Plenary Speakers


Jeff Eddings co-founded Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community with his friend Jim Walker, a United Methodist pastor. Jeff is an ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (2008), and a New Church Development Coach for the PCUSA. He received his undergraduate degree from Point Park College (1990). Jeff lives in the South Side with his wife Carolyn, their two sons, Ben and Sam, and their dog, Luna. He has a deep fondness for his family, climbing on his roof to look at the stars, good coffee, and camping where he can enjoy all three at once.


Aaron and Ayana Teter are teaching elders in the PC(U.S.A.) After graduating from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, they co-pastored ethnically and racially diverse congregations in Texas, New York, and Missouri. Aaron presently serves as the pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Ingram, Pa. He believes the church is meant to be a multicultural fellowship so that it can represent the peace of Jesus Christ to the larger community. Ayana presently serves as the Associate Minister of Pittsburgh Presbytery. In addition to serving as “pastor-to-pastors,” she works with the presbytery’s new church developments, international missions, and racial justice ministries. They share a deep heart for prayer, worship, and a desire to encourage and equip God’s people to do God’s will! He has a love for playing music—on various instruments—and hiking the outdoors. She has a love for music, dance, and partnering with God to grow edible things! Together, they share the joy of raising three—quickly growing—children!


The Rev. Sharon M. Stewart is a graduate of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. One of her passions is to encourage people of all ages in their spiritual formation and growth. For several years, she worked as the Director of Disciplemaking and Spiritual Growth for the Pittsburgh Presbytery. Currently, Rev Stewart is a quarter time pastor for the Homestead United Presbyterian Church and a part time pastoral associate for Southminster Presbyterian Church. Sharon Stewart and her husband, John, live in Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania. They have been married for 30 years and have two young adult daughters. She enjoys biking, reading and spending time with her family.


Ray Jones is the Associate Director of Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has served the church as a pastor for thirty years in congregations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. For the past six years he has served the denomination through the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Ray has a heart for helping people come to know and grow in their love of God in Jesus Christ. Through Ray’s guidance, The Presbyterian Mission Agency is producing curriculum to encourage and equip churches to help people live into their stories of faith, grow as followers of Christ, and see themselves as missionaries to their communities.  Ray believes that renewal in the church begins with God’s radical, unconditional love revealed in Jesus.

Ray is married and has two grown daughters. He has experienced training and education at Furman University, Columbia Theological Seminary, the church, and through living in the world.


Steve Ebling is pastor of the New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fishers, IN, where he is in his fourteenth year of ministry. He has also served churches in Pittsburgh and Norwalk, OH. If he isn’t engaged in ministry or spending time with his family, he’s likely knee-deep in a stream fishing for trout.

11:00 Registration and Free Time
5:30 Dinner
7:00 Evening Worship — Drama “Stickin with Fishin”
8:00 Fellowship

9:30 Session I- Interior Freedom: Surrendering and Letting Go
10:45 Break
11:00 Session I Continued with Small Groups
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Rest and Reflection
3:30 Workshop – Spiritual Direction; Sacred Listening (Bill Cooley)
5:00 Dinner
7:00 Evening Worship: Steve Ebling and Sharon Stewart
8:00 Fellowship

9: 30 Session II – Drama “Get Up!” – Disordered Attachments: Purging and Forgiveness
11:00 Break
11:30 Session II Continued with Small Groups
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Rest and Reflection
3:30 Workshop – Group Spiritual Direction; Contemplative Listening in a Small Group (Bill Cooley)
5:30 Dinner on your own
7:00 Evening Worship – Kintsugi “A worship service for better mental health”
8:00 Fellowship

9:30 Session III – Spiritual Indifference: Bearing Fruit in Community
11:00 Break
11:30 Session III Continued with Small Groups
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Rest and Reflection
3:30 Workshop – Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Morning: How to Design Sermon-Based Small Groups (Steve Ebling)
5:30 Dinner
7:00 Evening Worship: Ray Jones
8:00 Community Celebration