By: Terry Hargrave and Doodle Harris
We are so excited that APCE is in Louisville in 2018! At least for us, it means no plane rides and no heavy suitcases! Plus, we get to share the place we call home with all of you.
Across the country, Louisville is known for Churchhill Downs and our tradition of horse racing. You can imagine all the jokes the year that the horse Rousing Sermon was a favorite to win! Louisville is also known for our Bourbon (aka whiskey made in Kentucky), our dedication to the Arts (with the Louisville Ballet, Louisville Orchestra, Speed Art Museum, and Actor’s Theater), and our steam boats along the Ohio River. Plus if you run in PC(USA) circles, we are indeed home to the PC(USA) headquarters.
However, when you come to Kentucky, we hope you’ll experience another side of Louisville, a side our local committee is eager to share with you!
We hope you’ll know Louisville:
- For our commitment to interfaith work. Thanks largely to the work of Muhammed Ali and those who follow Thomas Merton, Louisville has an annual interfaith festival of faiths and an interfaith organization (Interfaith Paths to Peace) that intentionally bring together people who are committed to reconciliation, justice, and dialogue as a way to live out their beliefs. We’ve hosted speakers like the Dali Lama and brought together religious leaders and those in state and national legislatures for conversations about unity and genuine compassion.
- For our commitment to welcoming refugees. Through the work of Kentucky Refugee Ministries, we welcome over 1,800 refugees into the Louisville area each year. Local religious organizations, business, community groups, and families donate thousands of dollars and hours sponsoring and welcoming families. In Louisville and Lexington, we offer a variety of services (usually free to refugees) including cultural classes, ESL classes, and citizenship classes. We also celebrate their contributions to this area with an annual WORLDFEST celebration that brings in people from across the world.
- For our commitment to compassion. We are the largest city in America with the distinction of being an “international compassionate city.” Cities earn this distinction based on the number of community, service-centered organizations and large numbers of volunteer opportunities for Louisvillians. One such organization is EMPOWER WEST, a group that seeks to inform citizens about and to eradicate racism. Another of those organizations is A Place to Sleep, which will receive our mission donations at the 2018 Annual Meeting. This organization was started by a Presbyterian teenager who was horrified that some of her classmates had no bed of their own to sleep in. This organization simply comes into homes and builds beds for children. Overall, Louisville has also have a deep financial commitment to and a great enthusiasm for these organizations.
Both of us (Terry and Doodle) moved to Louisville as adults. Although we’ve both been here for a long time, we continue to be astonished at the visibility and public commitment to providing education, welcome, and opportunities for all people in our area. We love our restaurants that are filled to capacity because they allow all people (especially the homeless and disadvantaged) to “pay what you can” for your meal. We are enthusiastic about the public witness to fairness and compassion. We are amazed at how committed our news organizations and most of our local officials are to visible and genuine hospitality and kindness.
We look forward to sharing our welcome with all of you! We look forward to simple things like directing you to our amazing restaurants and to the more complicated things like conversations about radical inclusion. We will show you pictures of our annual Zombie Walk (yes, that’s a thing!) with over 10,000 participants and point to our billboards that insist on empathy. We know that we are walking on Holy Ground here. We can’t wait for you to take off your shoes and walk with us for a few days.
Terry Hargrave and Doodle Harris are the Local Committee Chairs of the APCE Annual Event in Louisville, Kentucky in 2018. They welcome you to join them! Find out more and register here.