I am grateful to New Hope Presbytery’s ConnetEd group, especially to Mary Todd Peters who introduced me to APCE and Gary Wires who made me feel welcomed at my very first APCE Annual Event in Baltimore, MD. Because of them, I came to APCE. Because of many dedicated volunteers, mentors, and friends, I continue to be a part of APCE. – Mary Taneti
This is just one of many stories we are hearing as people share gifts of gratitude on social media and the APCE Facebook page this month. #APCE50thGratitude is being used on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and yes, even TikTok to tell the story of Christian educators who have created a vibrant landscape of faith formation across the church of Jesus Christ.
During our time of shelter-in-place, I could not have created all new youth ministry programs, pivoted to online confirmation, or supported families without the help of APCE and my colleagues in ministry. We shared resources, created games for zoom, and even met to play games together. Shelly Donaldson and Cliff Haddox called me one week to play “Among Us,” a mafia-like game that every one of my youth are playing. We spent a Friday night playing games and using game platforms I had never heard about! I am so grateful for Shelly and Cliff, who not only pushed me in my game playing but offered friendship, laughter, and a chance to have some community in these lonely days of ministry. — Michelle Thomas-Bush
Who are the educators, youth leaders, pastors, Sunday school teachers, amazing volunteers, or professors supporting you in these strange days of ministry? Join us in the faith practice of gratitude over the next couple months as we honor and remember these important mentors.
I was sitting in my drive-through bank teller window one slow afternoon. My DCE, Phyllis Ward, called me and asked me if I wanted to apply for a then-PCUS sponsored study trip for six weeks in South Africa. I applied and quit my job in order to go. On the flight back, two friends earnestly tried to talk me into going to PSCE (one even brought pamphlets). Two weeks after returning home, I became a student at PSCE, lived two of my best years there, and am now completing 35 years in Christian Education. — Beth Peak Thompson
I know you have your own story. I could thank someone different every week and I just might! Would you join me in this faith practice of gratitude?
Gratitude is the acknowledgment that each moment of life is enough. We have enough, and what we experience is enough. Gratitude is a natural response to life, but it takes practice and intentionality. When we practice gratitude, we cultivate the ability to see wonder, awe, and possibility in each moment of our lives. You will be surprised what begins to happen. Bitterness is replaced with contentment. Daily routines become defining moments. The ordinary becomes holy.
Gratitude researchers have also seen changes in brain development when gratitude is practiced consistently. It increases resilience, reduces stress and depression. Practicing gratitude increases immune systems, lowers blood pressure, and enhances sleep. People are more alert and more generous, compassionate, and happy. Grateful people also have a greater capacity for joy and positive emotions.
Join us in the practice of gratitude for those who have walked with us on this faith journey.
Go one step further and honor or remember these people with a gift of gratitude to the APCE Endowment Fund. When we invest in the future, we ensure that Christian educators are connected, enriched, and empowered in this important ministry.
As we enter APCE’s 50th year as an organization, consider whom you might honor this year!
*Post your gifts of gratitude on any social media with the post #APCE50thGratitude.
*Give a gift to the endowment honoring these educators here: https://apcenet.org/support/endowment-fund/
Register for the 2021 Virtual Annual Event today!