By: Forrest Palmer
“The mission of APCE is to connect—enrich—empower—sustain all persons serving in educational ministry in the Reformed family of churches.”
As the gavel is passed from one president to another, the mission of APCE is always lifted up to help provide focus and a purpose for why we exist as an association. Generation after generation, the stories of faith are passed on, connecting, empowering, enriching and sustaining us in our faith development.
As educational leaders, we hear the call to teach and pass on the faith stories to each generation, as well as nurture and support the faith development for all ages. In 1976, John Westerhoff wrote the book, Will Our Children Have Faith? This question continues to be valid for all of us, no matter the generation. If we do not pass on these faith stories, who will?
Years ago, I recall Carlyle Marney challenging us to think about the “cellar people” (those who gave us a foundation) as well as the “attic people” (people we look up to) in our lives. We are called to give thanks for the “cellar people,” those who nurtured us and supported us, giving us a faith foundation on which we could build. We also give thanks for those for the “attic people” (those we look up to: mentors, teachers, professors, coaches, colleagues) who inspire us and call us to higher visions. I can also recall the time when I first realized that I was in someone’s “cellar” or “attic,” which was quite a sobering moment.
APCE is your organization. APCE could not exist without your support, encouragement, gifts of time and financial resources, membership, attendance at the Annual Events, prayers, participation, giving to the APCE Endowment Fund, etc. We support APCE so that future generations may know of God’s abiding love, made known to us through the stories of faith passed on from generation to generation, as well as our own personal faith stories.
Let us encourage each other, within this association, to reach out to present and future generations, so that together, we may “enrich, empower, and sustain” each other in what God has called us to be and to do.
Forrest Palmer, former executive associate presbyter for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, is interim executive presbyter for the Presbytery of West Virginia. Forrest has been an educator in congregations in Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina and directed a camp in Virginia. Forrest and his wife, Barbara Hollman Palmer, are both certified Christian educators and ruling elders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).