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‘Fast Facts’ about Big Tent 2017

St. Louis event to engage faith (and flavor) of community

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

St. Louis style gooey butter cake. (Photo via Wikipedia / Topher0128)

LOUISVILLE – Organizers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Big Tent 2017 event have assembled a list of seven “Fast Facts” for those attending, or considering attending, the July 6-8 gathering in St. Louis on the campus of Washington University.

With the theme of “Race, Reconciliation and Reformation,” Big Tent offers Presbyterians an opportunity to discern some of the toughest concerns of the day while actively engaging with their faith community and people of faith in St. Louis.

The preacher at opening worship will be PC(USA) Stated Clerk the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II. The Rev. Dr. Christine Hong, assistant professor of worship and evangelism and chapel worship coordinator at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, will be the closing worship preacher.

Event details along with links to the schedule and registration are available at the main Big Tent 2017 site.

Fast Fact #1: What is Big Tent?
Big Tent is a Presbyterian conference where people of all ages gather for worship, learning and getting to know other Presbyterians. Those attending past Big Tents say they value the opportunity to network, socialize and build community with other Presbyterians.

Fast Fact #2: Who attends Big Tent?
Teaching elders, ruling elders, members of congregations, mid-council staff… you name it. Big tent is for Presbyterians interested in worshiping and learning alongside others!

Fast Fact #3: Why is Big Tent on a college campus in St. Louis?
The first three Big Tent conferences were held in hotels. In response to requests to make Big Tent more affordable and provide a more relaxed atmosphere where participants can easily gather in community, Big Tent 2015 was held on a college campus.

Big Tent 2017 wants to build on that experience and is again holding the conference on a university campus. St. Louis is easily reached by a variety of methods of transportation, particularly for those in the Midwest, and Presbyterians in the area are already planning for the 223rd General Assembly.

Fast Fact #4: How far of a drive is it to Big Tent from these cities?
• Chicago – 4.5 hours
• Indianapolis – 3 hours, 42 minutes
• Des Moines – 5 hours, 23 minutes
• Kansas City – 3 hours, 51 minutes
• Memphis – 4 hours
• Nashville – 4 hours, 26 minutes

Fast Fact #5: What are the top food/drinks you should try in St. Louis?
• Gooey butter cake.
• St. Louis Style Pizza—thin crust, tavern cut.
• Toasted ravioli.
• St. Louis style barbecue—grilled, then sauce added.
• Ted Drewes frozen custard
(More information:

Fast Fact #6: Why was Big Tent created?
The first Big Tent was held in 2009, bringing together numerous conferences for shared space, worship and cost-savings. Big Tent has now become one large conference with participants joining together in worship and Bible study, and learning about such diverse topics as peacemaking, ruling elder leadership, multicultural ministry and other topics.

Fast Fact #7: What do I wear?
• Comfortable clothes and shoes—be aware that it is likely to be hot in St. Louis.
• A sweater or jacket—Washington University meeting rooms are air-conditioned and may be cool.
• Given the anticipated hot and humid weather and the campus location, casual dress is entirely appropriate, including shorts, T-shirts and sandals.

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