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Theology, Formation & Evangelism conferences offer opportunities for renewal

Three upcoming conferences are designed to help participants live out the gospel in a difficult time

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

The “Retreat in a Box” welcome for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities Refresh Retreat is just one of the items participants will receive. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Three digital conferences in October from Theology, Formation & Evangelism and its ministry partners will provide renewal opportunities for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders and congregational members as they seek to live out the gospel during this time of pandemic, chaos and disruption.

During Rethinking Evangelism on October 12-14, conference attendees will hear from key leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Ray Jones and the Rev. Dr. Jerry Cannon as they look more closely at the story of a thirsty Jesus encountering a Samaritan woman at a well.

the Rev. Dr. Jerry Cannon

While Jones, director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism, will look at the concern Jesus has for people at the margins and their whole being,  Cannon, the senior pastor at C.N. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church, plans to look at how the woman shared the gospel.

“After her encounter with Jesus, her testimony led many to believe, who then retold her story,” Cannon said.  “This is church: going to where the people are, Interacting and sharing what we do know about Christ with them.”

Cannon says the Samaritan women’s encounter with Jesus provides a way to think about how we might live out the gospel differently in a post-quarantine world, based on what we are learning during this time of pandemic.

The Rethinking Evangelism conference is being put on in partnership with Montreat Conference Center. Learn more about the diverse number of leaders and panelists who will engage participants in conversation and discussion about rethinking evangelism.

A limited number of subsidized registrations — $70 for individuals, $60 for group registrations of two or more — are available for the conference. Registration after the subsidized threshold is $100 per person.  A resource portal for the conference will be emailed to all registered participants approximately one week before the conference beings.

Register now to beat the Oct. 5 deadline for the conference, which begins at 5:45 p.m. Eastern Time on October 12 with opening remarks and worship.

1001 New Worship Communities

Also on Monday, October 12, 1001 New Worshiping Communities will begin its 24-hour Refresh Retreat with a virtual gathering with two time options. Participants can begin at either 6 p.m. Eastern Time or 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

1001 NWC coaching associate the Rev. Jeff Eddings said the retreat is an opportunity for participants to practice Sabbath while going through some spiritual practices and rhythms — and prayer.

He’s encouraging participants to make space, by getting away if they can — even if it’s to a local hotel room — to reflect on their own self-care.

The ‘1001” team is sending out retreat boxes to participants which contain a journal, anointing oil, coloring pencils, modeling clay, a finger prayer labyrinth, and even a S’mores kit, which Eddings said is “for their virtual campfire.”

The retreat will conclude with another virtual gathering on Tuesday night, Oct. 13. A few spaces are still available. If you’re interested in participating in and receiving a “Retreat in a Box,” send an email to Eddings.

Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network

On October 27-28, the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network will hold its annual national gathering digitally. The conference is called “Shaping Faith in Crisis: Piece by Peace.”

the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Rigby

Keynote speakers at the conference are the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Rigby of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Rev. Sally Wright, of Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie View, Kansas.

Rigby will speak to the question “Why ask Why? Faith & Lament in Times of Crisis,” while Wright will discuss “Pastoral Care While Social Distancing.”  Dianna Wright, interim director of Ecclesial and Ecumenical Ministries in the PC(USA)’s Office of the General Assembly, will lead worship.

POAMN president Michelle Hendrix says the conference, which brings together leaders on aging spirituality and pastoral care, will be a strong resource for everyone professionally and personally.

“As we look to 2021 and beyond, it appears COVID-19 will continue to affect us,” she said. “As shepherds and faith leaders we must continue to care for people, many of whom are feeling a rise in loneliness, anxiety and depression.”

Find out more and register for the conference here.

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