By: Pam Ramseth and Anne Yee-Hibbs


As we work together to introduce and invite you to APCE’s Annual Event 2014, we must tell you that one of us lives in Canada and the other is residing temporarily in Minnesota. The winters in both places can be brutal. If you have experienced real winter weather in your area, think about San Jose in 2014, where the average high for January-February is 59‒63 degrees, and the last time they experienced a measurable snowfall was in 1976.
So we repeat—the ConnectED 2014 Annual Event will take place at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California, from January 29 to February 1. We look forward to you joining us as we come together with other educators to discover meaningful new ways to connect our faith with our ever-changing world.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being and all your strength. These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children. Talk about them when your are sitting around your house, and when your are out and about, when you are lying down, and when you are getting up (Deuteronomy 6:5–7 CEB).

The scripture above is known as the Shema. With this scripture as our focus we will be discovering new ways to connect our Christian story to people’s lives, their unique situations, and the circumstances that they face daily. Our goal is to learn and acquire ways and means to affirm our Christian identity in the midst of a multi-faith world, and, in turn, being empowered to help our faith communities to tell their stories.

Our keynote speaker is Brian McLaren, noted author and senior leader in the Emerging Church movement. His latest book is Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-faith World. Bruce Reyes Chow will close the Annual Event with a plenary presentation. He is a blogger and the author of Words Matter, Curation Conversations About Race and The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church.

The Annual Event opens with worship and the celebration of communion at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Barbara J. Essex, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and the author of numerous books, will be the preacher. After opening worship, we will gather in regional groups. Following this time together, regions can choose to walk together across the street to The Tech Museum of Innovation for the welcome buffet dinner. Be prepared to spend an evening of wonderful hands-on activities as you connect with The Tech Museum’s pledge to “create experiences that invite people to learn through play, evoke emotions of wonder and joy, contain solid and accessible science, show how technology can improve lives, provoke thought and inspire action, and represent our local Silicon Valley community.”

Each year, the Annual Event Committee reviews your evaluation comments of the most current event. It is obvious that music is always a favorite part of each event, so we are very pleased to tell you about the wonderful musical opportunity for 2014. Seven members of the The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS), known as Peacocks will lead us in the familiar and the new music of the church. Look forward to old songs, new songs, jazzy songs, global songs. Hymns and songs from the new Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God, will be featured, as well as some music from the new hymnal available from Faith Alive Christian Resources. We will sing and connect in different languages and make a joyful noise, giving glory to God!

Come early and enjoy the following pre-conference tours: Cameron House in San Francisco, Monterey Bay and The Cannery, Winchester House, or a Winery Tour. Pre-conference workshops will include an eight hour, four module workshop on best practices using emerging technology in ministry led by Von Clemans. The CE Certification Course, “Worship & Sacraments,” will also be offered.

We are pleased to note that this year we are partnering with POAMN (Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network), which will offer their certification course. Another opportunity for being connected will be at the Small Church Gathering.

A spirituality center will offer a quiet place for mediation and reflection. We hope you will make some time to practice intentional spiritual engagement during the week. The center will also be child-friendly.

The many workshops of the event will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A panel discussion with Brian McLaren and Bruce Reyes Chow will also take place on Friday evening following a book signing by some of the conference presenters. The market place will open on Wednesday and continue during the event, and will include many venues and opportunities to shop for educational resources and publications.

Each year we receive an offering for the Val Murphy Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to a multi-cultural individual working in the field of Christian education, or to a student who is majoring in Christian education. A portion of the offering is given to a mission project chosen by the local committee. At the 2014 event this project is “Turning Wheels for Kids,” another opportunity for being connected. You’ll be able to help build a bike or two on site. See the article by Patricia and Donald Griggs, Turning Wheels for Kids.

Something new as we connect in San Jose will be an ecumenical extension to our event. This will begin on Friday afternoon, when we will meet together in Open Space. The number of attendees will increase as we connect with educators of the local area in ConnectED Bay Area. Open Space will give us an opportunity to come together in one of 14 different groups to share experiences and/or discuss questions with others who have also chosen the same topic. Our hope is that this will prove to be an excellent way to connect in an informal setting, and we are planning to place online the feedback from all of the groups.

The annual event will conclude at noon on Saturday unless you choose to stay to participate in a post conference winery tour. The ConnectED Bay Area event will continue with workshops until 5 p.m. Saturday.

Yes, you know the way to San Jose. Come, be ConnectED in 2014.

Pam Ramseth: Pam retired in 2008 after serving as the director of Christian education for 20 years at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Reno, NV. She missed only one APCE Annual Event during that time. She served as the Northern California/Nevada representative to the APCE Cabinet for five years and treasurer for three years. Pam enjoys hanging out with her husband Doug, reading, playing bridge, knitting, playing with her five granddaughters, and being retired, wild, happy and free!

Anne Yee-Hibbs: Anne recently retired from her ministry with the Synod of Southwestern Ontario as regional staff for education and leadership development. She is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in Canada and prior to joining the regional staff served two pastoral charges.

Anne enjoys reading, classical music and traveling with her husband, John Hibbs.