2022 APCE Enrich/Educator of the Year Award
Gina Yeager-Buckley became a Certified Christian Educator in 1994 at APCE’s Annual Event in Dallas, Texas, her “born–and–raised–in” city and state. It was there that she and her brother Ben were nurtured in the faith by their youth-leader parents, Bill and Linda, grandmother Lula Maude French and the community of First Presbyterian Church of Richardson. Gina started her young adult life studying technical theater at the University of Texas (Hook’em Horns!) with the intention of becoming an art director in movies. But God had a different plan for her that came in the form of a brochure given to Gina by her growing-up DCE Lura Wurthlin who said, “I think you have the gifts for this.” Gina tossed the Presbyterian School of Christian Education brochure into her dresser drawer and pranced off to UT, only to later be nudged by the God who opens doors and drawers to discover that brochure anew and embark on a future in Christian Education. Early in her career Gina had the privilege of learning and serving alongside several amazing churches and leaders. One of her dearest friends and mentors, Linda LeBron, came into her life while doing field work in children’s ministry. Her first call was as Director of Christian Education for Faith Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, Alabama, a truly faith-filled community willing to listen to and work with an enthusiastic young educator who had no fear or bureaucratic leanings in those days. In 1996, convinced by the highly persuasive Rodger Nishioka, Gina made the move to the PC(USA)’s national offices where she has fulfilled her passion for youth ministry and Christian formation for the past 26 years. She currently serves as the Associate for Presbyterian Youth and Triennium with the Presbyterian Mission Agency, having directed the Presbyterian Youth Triennium since 1998. Gina helped envision and launch the Presbyterian Youth Workers’ Association (PYWA) and has produced countless resources, among them Faith Findings, Salt and Light Retreats, Popcorn and Theology Volumes 1-4; Holy Motion; New Song 1 and 2, BeTween and Quicksheets. One of her greatest joys is serving as a youth advisor and Sunday School leader at Central Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY. Other joys include her husband Andrew, her kitties Porter and Dolly, movie-watching, music–listening and dahlia–farming. As one of her nominees wrote, “Gina embodies the APCE Enrich Award. Her commitment to faith formation with young people and their families is relentless.” Gina is honored to receive this award and humbly wishes nobody would notice.
Rev. Von Clemans
2022 SUSTAIN Lifetime Achievement Award honoree
Congratulations to APCE’s 2022 SUSTAIN Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Rev. Von Clemans, D.Ed.Min., Educator, Pastor, Coach, Author, Church Leader in Adult Faith Formation and Educational Technology.
Von’s passion for helping congregations, educators, and pastors strengthen adult education/faith formation ministries has led him to ministry in several congregations, as he says from “teeny tiny to very large.” He retired in 2017, after 18 years as associate pastor in adult faith formation ministries at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.
He enjoys being a dialogue partner for health and growth in ministry, using Family Systems Theory to navigate life and ministry. He recently served as a congregational coach for Vibrant Faith’s Creating a Culture of Calling Initiative and is an online instructor for Vibrant Faith Ministries. He is pursuing certification with the International Coach Federation as an Associate Certified Coach.
Many have benefited from his sharing how to use technology to enhance ministry in varied ways, in all types of churches, through retreats, conferences, webinars, and small group discussions. As developer and administrator of the Facebook Group TechTools4CE, he remains ready to help congregations incorporate newer digital programs and tools into their ministries.
Von is a graduate of the Union Presbyterian Seminary (M.Div.) and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (M.A.) in Richmond, VA. In 2014, Von completed the D.Ed.Min. program at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA with a primary focus on educational technology.
Von served as president of the APCE in in 2016 and is also a member of the Religious Education Association and Healthy Congregations.
He is married to Marion Sensenich Clemans, a retired PC(USA) educator. They live in Charlotte, NC and have two adult children and three grandchildren.
2022 EMPOWER Award
Leah Wyckoff grew up in First Presbyterian Church, Norman, Oklahoma, and has been active in the Presbyterian Church (USA) throughout her adult life, serving as a deacon, ruling elder, and Christian Education volunteer in several congregations. Leah has Chemical Engineering degrees from Rice University and worked in the commodity chemical industry for fifteen years before resigning in order to attend Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. She completed her MDiv degree in 2006 and began part-time work with First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth as the Christian Educator for the Worship on Wednesday! (WOW!) midweek outreach program, which recently became a New Worshiping Community of the PC(USA). She volunteers and participates in ministry with her family’s congregation, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church of Bedford, Texas, and volunteers with The 6:8 Project, a ministry that works with a low-income, ethnically diverse neighborhood east of downtown Fort Worth.
Since 2010, Leah has also served a second part-time position as the Director of Grace Presbytery’s Resource Center. She provides support and assistance to volunteer and staff church educators, as well as pastors in Grace Presbytery’s congregations. Leah provides staff support for Grace Presbytery’s Congregational Support Committee, and has served as a presbytery connector for SCRAPCE, as well as Secretary. Starting in March 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, Leah initiated bi-weekly online Educator Coffee Hour meetings for those passionate about Christian Education in Grace Presbytery (and beyond) to meet, share prayer concerns, and discuss and support one another through the challenges of ministry. In addition to coordinating the meetings and collaborating on discussion topics and speakers, Leah emails written summary notes of each Coffee Hour so those not in attendance can share in the discussion.
Leah is married to Ken Richardson, and they have one young adult daughter, Helen. They live in North Richland Hills, Texas.