Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

Big Tent attendance grows as workshop platform takes shape

Registration still open for the July 6-8 event in St. Louis

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – As attendance for this year’s Big Tent gathering in St. Louis continues to grow, workshop presenters are gearing up for the event. The biennial gathering will take place July 6–8 on the campus of Washington University. The theme — Race, Reconciliation and Reformation — will emphasize the hope of the gospel and its power to transform society in our current cultural context marked by anxiety, racial division, political animosity and economic inequality.

Highlights of the most sought-after workshops include topics such as the changing face of ministry, the history of racial reconciliation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), collaborative approaches to climate change, Christian identity and the Second Great End of the Church, disrupting racism, measuring congregational vitality, courageous talks on race and the 2020 Vision Team listening sessions.

Hoping to leave a tangible legacy in St. Louis long after Big Tent and the 2018 General Assembly conclude, the Office of the General Assembly’s Hands and Feet initiative will engage participants in listening to and learning from the communities, even as attendees engage in projects with community members.

Andrew Yeager-Buckley, coordinator of Hands and Feet, said the goal is “to facilitate change and communicate God’s love before, during and after major gatherings of the church, particularly General Assemblies.”

The initiative was introduced at the 2017 Montreat College Conference, where the General Assembly Stated Clerk, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, laid out his vision.

“Beginning in St. Louis, we are starting something we call Hands and Feet. We are going in with our hands, we are going in with our feet, to have teach-ins. We’re going in with hands and feet to do some work,” said Nelson, who will be Big Tent’s opening worship preacher. (The closing worship preacher will be the Rev. Dr. Christine Hong, assistant professor of worship and evangelism and chapel worship coordinator at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.)

As of June 2, 464 people had registered for the event, including 317 general attendees and 147 speakers and staff. More than 275 people have registered to attend the Friday engagement activities in one of five local churches.

Additionally, the 56 scheduled workshops have a total registration of 930 attendees. Six pre- and post-conferences have a registration of 123 people.

“Big Tent is one of the finest denominational events put on by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” said Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Three days of quality programming held in a central, convenient location at a reasonable cost for participants — this year’s Big Tent gathering promises to be among the best ever.”

Registration for the event is $395 and includes accommodations for three nights and meals. A $225 rate for commuters, with no lodging or meals, is also being offered.

For registration information and updates visit

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.