Sometimes in hockey, baseball, or another sport, the coach looks at what’s happening on the field (often when things aren’t going the way they intended) and realizes that things need to change, so they call “TIME OUT!”
With these words, the team heads to the bench for teaching, conversation, and a new approach to the game. When the whistle blows, calling everyone back into the game, the hope is that the “time out” has provided the team with the training and new approach needed to assist them in achieving their goals (and even to make winning goals!).
Your APCE Advocate team is calling a “TIME OUT!”
We will be taking a break from publishing weekly blog posts over the next couple of months because we need to regroup, participate actively in some crucial learning and reflection, and consider new ways of providing relevant articles for our APCE members.
We’d like to invite you to our bench to hear what we’re concerned about and what we’ll be doing over the next couple of months.
First of all, we will be participating in the webinar series Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training: Dismantling Racism, Building Racial Justice in Institutions produced specifically for the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) and the Presbyterian Youth Workers Association (PYWA) through a partnership with the Office of Christian Formation with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
While APCE has valued faith formation for all ages, stages, and walks of life, we recognize that there is a significant lack of diversity within APCE and that we have not listened to all voices at the table. Through our actions, both explicit and implicit, we have fallen short in welcoming and listening to those who have been long silenced in the church and our world. We have ignored Jesus’ call to inclusivity, and APCE wants to change.
The Executive Council of APCE has asked every APCE team to set apart time over the next few months to view and discuss the nine Antiracism webinars created for us by Crossroads. Our Advocate team is committed to this, and we want spend quality time discussing in depth the content of the webinars. We want to take the time needed to explore how we might live into what we learn as we wrestle with achieving diversity, equality, and justice in and through the Advocate. In order that we do this well, we will be setting aside one meeting per month over the next four months with no agenda other than discussing these crucial webinars and how we need to apply them in our work.
Second, we want to consider a more intentional approach to the articles we publish in the Advocate blog posts.
Previously, the Advocate was a quarterly print magazine. Each issue was created around a specific theme and included a biblical reflection, a theoretical understanding, and one or more practical application articles helping our readers to delve deeply into the one theme. Your Advocate team has strived to achieve a similar approach through the weekly blog postings, but we are falling short of our dream as we find ourselves frequently jumping from week to week just getting the articles in and up on the website. Our monthly meetings have become more reactive than proactive as of late, and we feel it’s time to stop and take some much-needed time to lay out a more deliberate plan going forward.
We’ve begun to imagine groupings of three to six consecutive blog postings centred around a clear and specific theme, concluding with a summary article in a final posting that ties each of the articles together. We’ll include links to each article within the theme for those who’d prefer to read the collection en masse. We’ll meeting monthly over the next few months to lay out these themes for most of the coming year and will then begin to invite people to write, record, and/or video articles for these themes well in advance. We will do this while also seeking greater diversity among our writers and a better balance of articles in theory and practice.
We’re also excited that we’ve begun to dip our toes into greater accessibility by publishing our articles in at least two of three formats; written, audio, and/or video. We are thankful for those first writers who have been willing to launch these new formats in the past month. We’ve received positive affirmation from you in this move. Now, our team needs to learn how to edit and upload these new formats as we continue to explore accessibility even further.
In addition to monthly Crossroads webinar conversations, we will meet a second time each month to lay out our revised approach to our blog postings.
We’ll be back in the late summer with a “soft opening” of these changes and developments. We’ll keep you in loop as we go along, sharing what we’ve discovered along the way and what are hoping to implement as a result of our “Time Out.”
We thank you for understanding and look forward to serving APCE better together.
Grace and peace, your APCE Advocate Team