Nine hundred eight and counting

Last-minute registrations keep coming in for the first-ever online APCE national event

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — As of Tuesday, registration for “Anything but Ordinary Time,” the name of the annual event of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE), stood at 908 — nearly one-third of them first-time attendees, according to Anne Wilson, a retired educator from Houston and member of the event’s planning team. In addition, 15 percent of those registered have attended one previous APCE annual event.

“So almost half of those who registered are new or relatively new to APCE,” Wilson said. “What a great opportunity to offer a wealth of resources — not only curated sources but getting to know outstanding leaders from across the church,” Wilson said. “While regular Annual Event attendees know that they can depend on and count on these offerings, many educators in the trenches may not be familiar with APCE. We hope to be the curated and Reformed search engine for resources.”

“Anything but Ordinary Time” begins Thursday and runs through Saturday. The schedule is here. Register here. Cost of the webinar is $100.

Event preachers are the Rev. Aisha Brooks-Lytle, the Rev. Paul Roberts and the Rev. Keatan King. Plenary speakers are the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, Dr. Warren Chalklen and Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks. Three dozen workshops are being offered, as are roundtable opportunities.

For the first time APCE will provide both Spanish and Korean real-time simultaneous interpreting for the worship, select workshops and plenary sessions. The Presbyterian Mission Agency’s (PMA) Office of Christian Formation (OCF) is providing the interpretation services through the PMA’s Global Language Resources (GLR) ministry.

Stephanie Fritz, mission coordinator for Christian Formation, said she believes offering interpretation services to gatherings including the APCE annual event helps widen the faith community’s ability to participate.

“APCE is committed to making sure that all those that are serving in educational and faith formation ministries are able to attend this continuing education event. Christian formation is at the core of who we are as Presbyterians. Offering interpretation and scholarships ensures that more of our faith communities are able to participate,” said Fritz. “The Office of Christian Formation of the PMA is in mission partnership with APCE and we believe it is important to increase the reach of this event especially in a year where the expense of travel isn’t limiting participation.”

Before coming to the Office of Christian Formation, Fritz was on APCE’s annual event planning team for seven years.

“I know what goes into planning an event of this size,” she said, “and I am so proud to be part of this organization that was able to provide this virtual event during a time where connection and inspiration is needed.”

Anne Wilson

According to Wilson, the goal for the annual event has been not to “try and duplicate the traditional in-person event online,” she said. “We really hoped to take advantage of how technology could not only support but enhance what we would offer. In engaging plenary leaders and preachers, we were not limited by travel expenses, lodging and large commitments of time. We were merely asking for a 90-minute plenary or a 20-minute sermon!”

Will people really watch for all three days?

“We hope so!” Wilson said. Each day, she said, will focus on a theme designed around what’s happening that day “while providing ways to equip us when we walk away from our screens and move into the days ahead,” Wilson said.

The Thursday theme will be how to use technology “to broaden the table and better connect with those we serve,” Wilson said. On Friday, participants will explore being better leaders by embracing diversity. Saturday’s focus will be “a message of hope for us all,” Wilson said. “Each of us has a unique calling. Each of us is anything but ordinary and we are not alone as we go forth!”

“We hope to create a setting that feels intimate and personal,” Wilson said, “yet connectional and feeling like we are part of something much bigger.”

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