Educator of the Year

Phoebe Elizabeth Abrams Hayes (Beth) grew up in a PCUSA church that played a very significant role in her early life. Her early involvement with that church family inspired her to major in religious education at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It was there that she was challenged to hear and answer a call to educational ministry in the local church setting. After graduating with a degree in religious education, she spent the next four years in Knoxville, Tennessee, serving the Fountain City Presbyterian Church as their director of Christian Education.

It fast became apparent to her that this was indeed what she felt called to do in her life—and that she needed more training. She entered Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia, in 1978 and graduated in 1979 with a Master of Arts in Christian Education. Her summer internships were spent in Greensboro, North Carolina, at Sedgefield Presbyterian and All Saints Episcopal Church, two very small congregations who wanted to explore what it would be like to have an educator on staff. In June of 1979, Beth was called as the Director of Christian Education at Highland Presbyterian Church in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where she spent the next five years and was certified in the PCUSA as a Director of Christian Education in November 1980. In November of 1985 she was called to the Moravian Church Southern Province as a Director of the Resource Center. The Moravian Church certified her as an educator in 1991.

Through Beth’s leadership the Moravian Resource Center incorporated the Salem Presbytery Resource Center to become a regional ecumenical resource center housed at the Moravian Church offices and funded by both denominations. She is one of Salem Presbytery’s POINT representatives and advises and distributes curriculum to most of their churches. Her current job title is Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources. Many educators see Beth as their life-line to current, quality resources. All one has to do is describe the group requiring curriculum and what their needs are, and Beth is able to give suggestions immediately.

Beth is no stranger to the ecumenical world of Christian education. She has worked on various curriculum development teams with partnerships that included PCUSA from PREM days, Bible Discovery, Bible Quest, and Present Word. She has served on the Leadership Development Team with the PREM and PREP partnership, which most recently has been sitting on a team to develop and promote Opening Doors to Discipleship, an online learning module, and other projects. She is currently a member of the Presbyterian Association of Resource Center Directors and coordinates the teams for the curated online resource page as part of PARC. She participated for two years in the National Training for Resource Center Directors 2003-2005.

Beth’s involvement in APCE goes back to when she graduated in 1979 and was asked to serve out a term on cabinet that Don Griggs had occupied. She was the MidAtlantic regional representative for several years. Because of that experience, it was important to her to see the educators of the Moravian Church have a place and opportunities that APCE could give them. She initiated conversation at the 2007 event and headed a group who made a proposal that the Moravians become full members of the organization in San Diego, CA in 2008. She then became the first Moravian denominational representative on the Cabinet.

Every year since then Beth has brought a group to the annual event and taught workshops along the way. In 2010 she was elected secretary of the APCE cabinet. She currently serves as a member of the Communications and Resource ministry team for the organization, recommending resources on the APCE website.

Closer to home Beth participated in the ecumenical educator support groups in the Triad (NC) for many years and at present coordinates the Moravian-Salem Presbytery educators’ bimonthly meeting and the Moravian Association of Church Educators (MACE) monthly meeting. She is active in the MidAtlantic region of APCE and helped to organize the last several retreats.

While serving on the Provincial Moravian Educators’ Committee, Beth took part in the development of an educators’ manual to help churches employ educators. The group also identified requirements for certification in the Moravian Church (associate or director of CE). Beth has served on teams publishing Moravian resources for Holy Communion, family devotions, Moravian history, and Moravian Godly Play curricula.

Many would tell you that she is passionate about several things. She loves and is devoted to her family that consists of husband Randy, Daughter Amanda, and her sister Jackie. She loves Carolina basketball and has spent many APCE annual events gathered around a TV set with colleagues cheering on the light blue. And her work in resourcing other people to do ministry in Christian education is something you do not mess around with her about. Educators and their issues and work are extremely important part of Beth’s life as she tries to support leaders and educators in their roles in the churches. She has used connections with her PCUSA colleagues and grown a group of educators for the Moravian Church who are extremely special to her. She will go to any measure to advocate for this important group of people.

It is a great pleasure to present Beth Hayes as Educator of the Year for 2016!