At the end of August, 2020, an email exchange between Thom Cunningham and Anne Wilson began….
Thom: So, Anne could you Zoom with a few folks to talk about what it’s like to do a virtual conference?
Anne: Sure, I’d love to meet with you! I’ve recently participated in three events that have all been held online over multiple days.
And thus the conversations and planning commenced. A team of eight educators has met regularly and has designed a once-in-a-lifetime virtual APCE Annual Event!
Anne: Tell us a bit about the theme for this year’s conference.
Thom: We’ve chosen the theme of “Anything But Ordinary Time” to focus on these extraordinary moments in life. The church, confronted by a global pandemic and a growing racial and social divide, struggles to find a way to respond. While these may not be ordinary times, they are extraordinary times of opportunities to be Christ’s hands and feet to a world in need. This conference will provide avenues to not only explore faith formation in our current circumstances, but will also open doorways to hope and inspiration for you and your ministry.
Thom: What will a virtual conference look like?
Anne: This gathering will be held over three days, Thursday, February 4 – Saturday, February 6, 2021. We’ll start each day officially at 11:00am Eastern. Each event (either 60 or 90 minutes in length) will be followed by a generous 30-minute convenience break. We’ll conclude each day in time for dinner. You can log on and participate in everything or select just the events that work for you.
Thom: What things will stay the same?
Anne: We’ll offer our best in the way of worship, plenary and workshops each day. Special events like awards presentations, the corporation meeting, regional gatherings, book store, and even a spirituality center will all take place.
Anne: What will be different?
Thom: Participants won’t have the expenses involved in travel, housing and meals, plus no need to worry about how many times we’ll be served chicken! We know a big part of this conference is meeting up with friends and making new contacts. We will do our best to make this as relational as possible despite the physical distance separating us; we hope that meaningful conversations through cyberspace will still connect us.
Thom: What will be unique to this conference?
Anne: I won’t have to create my Excel spreadsheet to decide what clothes to pack! Seriously, I think it’s going to be great to be able to sit in the comfort of my pajama pants and still be face-to-face with outstanding leaders. It will feel like they’re talking just to me! I won’t have to worry about finding the correct location for each event either–I’ll just click on a link and voilà!
Anne: Thom, what most excites you about this event?
Thom: The fact that we have a chance to widen the participation to almost anyone who has an interest in faith formation. Making this an online event means that volunteers, members of small congregations, churches from far away, and churches with no continuing education budgets can benefit from all that we have to offer.
Thom: Is there anything else you think folks should know?
Anne: We hope the APCE family will help spread the word about this opportunity for the wider church to connect with others during a time of exhausting isolation, to be enriched by a diverse roster of workshop leaders, to be empowered by uniquely gifted plenary and worship leaders, and to sustain one another for the work that is laid out before us by a God who never lets us go, no matter what. “Look! I am making all things new!”
Registration is open! Click here to find out more.