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APCE honors three educators for their work in creative faith formation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The women’s many accomplishments are celebrated during a dinner on the final night of APCE’s national event

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by CDC via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — The Association of Partners in Christian Education honored three people Friday, one as its educator of the year and two for their lifetime achievements. The three received their awards during a dinner Friday, the next-to-last day of APCE’s annual event being held in Birmingham, Alabama.


The following information, provided by APCE, can also be found here.

Educator of the year

Jenna Campbell

Jenna Campbell’s passion for educational ministry began in her childhood, with formative faith experiences in her family, the church, and church camp, which nurtured her strong sense of call at the age of 12 to become a Christian educator.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University, Campbell graduated from Union Theological Seminary’s Presbyterian School of Christian Education (now Union Presbyterian Seminary) with a master’s in Christian education. She is a Certified Christian Educator in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Campbell has served two congregations in Oklahoma, currently as the director of Children and Youth Ministry at her home church, First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater. She calls it her “dream job,” giving back to the congregation that nurtured her faith and call to ministry.

She provided leadership for implementing sustainable ministry in the children and youth programs. During the Covid pandemic, she created a website to support families as they nurture faith at home. Thousands of people across the country and the world have visited the website, which resources both families and church leaders.

Campbell lives out her belief in connectional ministry by working with gifted colleagues across the state, region and nation. She enjoys resourcing educators and congregations through mentoring and consulting. Her vital leadership for the South Central Region of APCE (SCRAPCE) guided the organization to envision and live into a new ministry structure in her three years as president. Through eight years of service on the Educator Certification Committee, Campbell provided key leadership for the revamping of the Christian Education Associate level of endorsement in addition to serving as the ECC moderator and Exam Administrator.

Her skills in curriculum writing and resource sharing have been a gift to many, including PC(USA) Special Offerings, Dwight Mission Camp and Conference Center, APCE workshops, and others as she generously shares materials for programs and ministries.

She is passionate about family faith formation and intergenerational ministry, as well as engaging children and youth in a faith that actively pursues justice and compassion in the world. She credits her (engineer) father’s gift of organization and her mother’s gifts of creativity and faith with the perfect blend of gifts for a Christian educator.

The greatest gift and joy in Jenna’s life is her family. She’s honored to share life and laughter with husband Casey and daughters Reese (13) and Emerson (10) and is grateful for their inspiration and love.


APCE SUSTAIN Lifetime Achievement

Debby Madden

Debby Madden is a graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where she received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education focused on English and history.

She is a ruling elder, ordained in 1995 at St. James Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, an Associate Certified Christian Educator and has a certification in Spiritual Formation from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

She retired from First Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she served as Director of Educational Ministry for 20 years. As Director, she has led all ages in Bible study, mission trips and projects, Vacation Bible School, Toddler Time and other educational programs. She has led both church and community prayer events. She was honored as Educator of the Year in 2016 by EAPCE (Eastern APCE).

Prior to her second career as a church educator, she worked in accounting and banking.

Debby has served APCE and EAPCE in a variety of positions. She has served the National APCE as a regional representative, chair of the APCE Advocate Committee and as the Treasurer. She was part of the Task Force for the new form of government. She has also served EAPCE as Secretary, President, and Treasurer. She has created a variety of workshops and Spirituality Centers for both National and EAPCE.

Madden has served the Presbytery of Carlisle on a variety of committees and task forces, including as Treasurer of the presbytery, chair of the Interim Executive Search Committee and as chair of both the Education and Administrative Committees. She was selected as a commissioner to the 223rd General Assembly in 2018. She also has served Carlisle Presbytery through its Camp Krislund ministry as both a chaplain and counselor volunteer. In retirement she continues to serve the church as pulpit supply, Bible study leader and a curriculum consultant.

Madden has supported her local Carlisle community as a volunteer for the local food bank, Project SHARE, community worship walks and services, and First Night New Year’s Eve programs.

She is married to her wonderful husband, Dave. She is mom and stepmom to David, Kristen, Diane, Dave, and Dennis, and (best of all) grandmother to the 3M’s – Michelle, Mason and McKenzie. She loves reading, jigsaw puzzles, and baseball, especially the Philadelphia Phillies.


APCE SUSTAIN Lifetime Achievement

Mary Marcotte

Mary Marcotte received a bachelor’s degree from Rice University with a double major in history and English.

On graduation, Mary was part of the academic faculty at Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts, where she solidified her love of teaching. “Retiring” from public education after the birth of her first child, she became increasingly involved in the Christian education programs of her church. This included writing curriculum and serving on the presbytery’s Christian Education Committee.

After moving to Dallas with her family, she would begin her journey as a Christian educator as a volunteer coming out of the pews. She then pursued seminary coursework to become a Certified Church Educator. She served congregations in Texas and Virginia before election as Associate General Presbyter by the Presbytery of New Covenant in southeast Texas. In addition to coordinating a wide range of educational events,she became a sought-after teacher and retreat leader at the local, regional and national levels.

A believer in the connectional ministries of the church, Marcotte took an active leadership role in both the South Central Region of APCE and APCE leadership teams. She additionally served eight years on the Educator Certification Committee of the PC(USA), including a term as moderator.

Her presbytery work gradually expanded beyond Christian education and leadership development to include visioning, evangelism, congregational renewal, and work with new church development and the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative. She brought her educator’s heart and skill set to work that supported all aspects of vital congregational life.

In retirement Mary and Michael, her husband of more than 50 years, moved to back to Dallas and are once again active members of Northridge Presbyterian Church, the church where she began her professional ministry. She is the proud mother of adult children Matt and Meg and grandmother to Linus and Arlo.

She now volunteers in faith formation ministries and relishes weaving together learning communities and cheering on the work of educational ministry and those dedicated to its excellence.

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