APCE is approaching a milestone.  In 2021 APCE will be 50 years old!  That calls for a celebration.  Since the Annual Event in 2018 the APCE 50th Anniversary Task Force – a dedicated diverse team – has been meeting, dreaming, planning and putting into place a celebration that everyone will want to be part of.  Candace Hill, a member of the APCE 50th Anniversary Task Force and Co-Chair of the 2021 Annual Event along with Kirsty Depree, commented recently that what excited her about our plans were “the multiple ways we hope to celebrate what makes APCE unique and relevant for people who have been members for years and for those who are new to the organization.”

That vision is reflected in the theme for the 2021 Annual Event February 3-6 in Chicago –  Circle of Faith: 50 years and beyond….  This will be an Annual Event to remember and a special time to reconnect with mentors and friends.  So set the dates aside now and make plans to celebrate this milestone with the APCE family.  While you are at it do two things.  Identify some retired Educators who shaped your ministry and invite them to join you for this special event helping them with funding if needed!  And invite a new educator or pastor or valued worker in your church to join you!

We all love a party but a celebration alone just didn’t feel right.  After all, we are Educators! So we have planned some other special pieces to our celebration.  Through the Advocate in 2020 we will be sharing key milestones along the way that made us who we are today.  We are fortunate to have people who were in the trenches as each of these milestones happened to share their memories and give us the real story behind these decisions.  As you read these special Advocate articles through the year take note of the ways our connections have enriched, empowered and sustained us in the past and how these past experiences can inform our future.

The task force identified two specific projects to give vision to our future life together.  The first is a video history which will be shared at the 2021 Annual Event.  Through pictures from our archives stored in Philadelphia and Montreat — what a story they tell — and your cameras and i-Phones, video clips from past events and the APCE storybooth, and the voices of those who went before us we hope to capture the key moments that have shaped us as educators and as a community.  Through the help of GNTV we hope to put these gems together in a way that tells our story for years to come so that all can remember those who blazed the trail and catch the vision for the future of a church growing and learning together.

The second project is a Leadership Development Tool titled Widening the Circle: The Future of the Church hosted by Rodger Nishioka that can be used in a variety of settings and will be a gift to all who attend the 2021 Annual Event. The Leadership Development Tool will discuss ways to grow disciples of Jesus Christ who connect, enrich, empower and sustain the body of Christ.  The 50th Anniversary Task Force is especially grateful to the APCE Endowment for two major grants that have made these big projects possible.

Our prayer is that this celebration will deepen our connections, enrich our ministry, empower us in new cutting-edge ways so that our ministry will be sustained and God will be glorified. And the church can celebrate the gift that APCE is and has been for 50 years and will continue to be into the future.

If you’d like to contribute some of your photos or videos from previous APCE annual or regional events, you may upload photos to http://bit.ly/APCE50thPhotos and videos to http://bit.ly/APCE50thVideos. Questions or concerns can go to APCE50th@apcenet.org.

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Zeta Touchton Lamberson

Rev. Zeta Touchton Lamberson is the Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Georgia and a Certified Educator.  She is Chair of the 50th Anniversary Team and a Past President of APCE.