The scripture verse chosen for the APCE Annual Event 2012 is Daniel 4:3: “God’s miracles are staggering, God’s wonders are surprising.” Come and be surprised when we gather in Grand Rapids!

At each committee planning meeting, someone always says, “Remember God’s surprising wonders!” The committee has worked hard at providing an opportunity for all of us to enjoy. Surprises may be large or small, as you discover different ways to connect, enrich, empower and sustain with a myriad of educators.

Some of what will happen in Grand Rapids:

  • We are blessed to meet in a place that has just hosted the Calvin Symposium of Worship, sponsored each year by Calvin College in Grand Rapids. We hope to have some of those resources with us.
  • We will begin with worship, a usual part of our schedule, but with a celebration of communion as the launch for our four days together. We are pleased to have Carol McDonald plan our worship and Susan D. Krummel, general presbyter from Great Rivers Presbytery, as our preacher.
  • Sandy Eisenberg Sasso will speak on Thursday. She will help us explore how the scriptures can help us tell the stories of our lives. See her article on page 12.
  • Friday is workshop day. All workshops are scheduled on this day. Some will be 1½ hours, some three, and two will be five hours long. Most will be done by leadership in person, but two will be done by SKYPE. Among the many workshop offerings will be some held off-site.
  • On Saturday we will renew our baptisms as we worship together. We are privileged to have Cláudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship and preaching at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, as worship leader for that service. See his article on page 8.
  • Our artist, Shari LeMonnier, will bring other paintings as well as explain her concept of God’s surprising wonders in creation as she relates the spirit of God hovering over the waters at the time of creation. See her article on page 14.
  • It is Grand Rapids, so come ready to play in the snow. Grand Rapids has heated sidewalks, but in nearby Pando Winter Sports Park, you can ski and tube in the snow. And you can ice skate right downtown. See Bob Keely’s article on page 6.
  • You will be able to browse the Market Place and gather resources from a variety of vendors. There will be time to meet and talk with authors at the book store.
  • Part of our annual Val Murphy offering will go to In The Image, an independent, faith-based, ecumenical organization in Grand Rapids. Its mission is to link gently used clothing, housewares, furniture and appliances with people in need in a manner that enhances dignity, embraces choice, encourages participation and builds a community of diversity. Some of you will have the opportunity to visit and help during one of the workshop times.

I’m very excited about all of the ways that we will experience God’s surprising wonders when we gather in 2012!

Let’s meet together so that we can be sustained in our mission and faith as we connect with others, enrich our lives and empower ourselves and others to do ministry as God’s people.

Loretta Gratias-Bremer is consultant for Presbytery of Chicago and chair of the 2012 Annual Event.