2024 ENRICH Educator of the Year 

Thom Cunningham

First Presbyterian Church, Deerfield, Il

Thom Cunningham, Director of Faith Formation and Mission at First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield, Illinois, holds degrees in Theology and Sociology from Elmhurst University and a Master of Theology from McCormick Seminary. He is a Certified Christian Educator in the Presbyterian Church USA.
In 1991, Thom Cunningham began serving full-time as the Director of Youth Ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield. Thom’s positive attitude and playful nature, along with his out-of-the-box thinking, quickly endeared him to the youth. In subsequent years, he was given the additional responsibility of overseeing the Children’s Ministry, followed by Adult Faith Formation. In each of these areas, Thom created programs that promoted education, spirituality, fellowship, and service. Soon after, he was also tasked with leading the Mission and Service team. His gifts for recruiting and empowering volunteers have made this all possible. Thom’s passion for faith formation is on clear display through his creative Bible studies, spiritual art projects, and humorous stories. Thom’s larger work at FPCD includes the creation and leadership of a contemporary Celebration Worship Service, partnering with PADS Lake County to establish and maintain a shelter at the church for those seeking housing, food, warmth, and compassion, and partnerships in Atebubu, Ghana, and the Yucatan to bring clean water, improve health facilities, and support local churches.

Thom has been a member of the Association of Partners in Christian Education (APCE) since 1994. Within APCE, he has held various positions, including Co-Chair of the Local Committee for the 2016 Annual Event, serving on the 50th Anniversary Committee, Co-Moderator of the Annual Event Ministry team, member of the Coordinating Council, and Chair of the Annual Events Strategic Planning Team. He is currently a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.

In the autumn of 2019, amidst the COVID pandemic, Thom was part of the team reimagining how to transform the Annual Event into a virtual experience. This was a rare chance to blend the traditional conference with new technology and ideas. Thom served as the cohost of the first three virtual events.

Thom has shown dedication to the larger church through his involvement in the Chicago Presbytery, where he has led numerous confirmation retreats, served on the Youth Council and Christian Education Committee, moderated the Chicago Presbytery Resource Center, and currently works with the C.A.R.E. Committee on Anti Racism ministry team as an IDI Qualified Administrator, training and debriefing presbytery committees and individuals on cultural understandings and self-awareness. He is also a cohort leader with the PC(USA) Office of Christian Formation.

Thom has been married for 31 years and has three children. He enjoys cooking, gardening, and watching PBS Mysteries. Thom is well-known for his positive attitude and great sense of humor. He frequently says, “God is Good!” to express his gratitude.

2024 SUSTAIN Lifetime Achievement Award
Bruce Harvey, Fredericksburg, VA

Eugene Bruce Harvey, Jr. was born January 29, 1955 in Altavista, VA, and both of his parents were Presbyterian elders in the Altavista Presbyterian Church. He earned a B.A. in History at Washington & Lee University, a M.A. in Christian Education at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (now, Union Presbyterian Seminary) in 1979, and a certificate in spiritual formation from Columbia Theological Seminary in 2009. With experience as a camp counselor and program director (1973-1977), he served four congregations in educational ministry, most recently The Presbyterian Church in Fredericksburg until his retirement in August 2019. He became a Certified Christian Educator in 1981 and an Ordained Elder in the PCUSA in 1996. Bruce and his wife, Bridget, live in Fredericksburg, Virginia, have three children and five grandchildren.

Congregational Ministry

In four local congregations, Bruce worked tirelessly to “build up the body by seeking diverse and gifted people dedicated to faith formation” including pastors, other professional staff, Sunday school teachers, and youth leaders.
• First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, KY (Director of Christian Education, 1979-1984)
• Central Presbyterian Church, Bristol, VA (Director of Christian Education, 1984-1988)
• First Presbyterian Church, Athens, GA (Director of Children & Youth, 1988-1997)
• The Presbyterian Church, Fredericksburg, VA (Coordinator of Christian Education, 1997-2019)

Beyond the Local Congregation

Bruce has been an omnipresent educator with service on Christian Education Committees in three presbyteries; Camp Committees in two presbyteries; and Presbytery Council in four presbyteries. At Montreat, he has been a small group leader at 14 Youth Conferences; a member of the planning team for two Christian Education Conferences; a director for one CE Conference; on a planning team for one Youth Conference and co-director for another Youth Conference.

He also served on the Camp Hanover Board, as a member from 2001-2006 and as Moderator from 2004-2006; on the APCE Cabinet from 2009-2015; and on three search committees for the Presbytery of the James.

For Union Presbyterian Seminary, Bruce has served on three faculty search committees; a Christian Education Task Force appointed by President Brian Blount in 2007 that generated 10 areas of recommendation to support and advance the seminary’s strategic plan; as Co-Moderator of the 100-Year ATS/PSCE Celebration Committee; and on the Board of Trustees.

2024 SUSTAIN Lifetime Achievement Award
John Johnson, Burlington, NC

Without a doubt, John Johnson is a Presbyterian. With the middle name of Witherspoon, did he have any other choice?!
John is a North Carolina native, and the son of a Presbyterian minister and a Christian Educator. Although it might seem that growing up in this home might seem suited to entering the ministry, his interests instead turned to music, which led to enrollment at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida in pursuit of a degree in Music Education.
During college years working at Camp Grier, a Presbyterian camp in the mountains of North Carolina, John truly learned to love God and God’s creation from an entirely new perspective.

Following graduation from Stetson in 1975 John answered a call to the ministry and enrolled at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond in the fall of 1977, graduating in 1979 ready to serve the church as an Educator.

As an Educator, John served churches in Kinston, Greensboro, and Burlington, North Carolina, and Longwood, Florida. In the late-90’s, answering another call from God, this time to the ordained ministry, he began pursuit of the Master of Divinity degree, received from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2000. John was ordained by Salem Presbytery in 2001 and served churches in the Greensboro/Burlington area of North Carolina until his retirement in 2021.

John has been active in APCE (The Association of Partners in Christian Education) for some 30 years, serving in many different leadership roles. He served on what was then the APCE Cabinet as Mid-Atlantic Representative, Treasurer, and the Presidential cycle (2006-2008). John’s interest in technology led to volunteer work, revamping and upgrading APCE’s original website, and eventually to a term as Coordinator for Technology and Social Media for APCE. He recently completed a term on the Governance Ministry Team. John has been a fixture at APCE Annual Events for the past 20+ years serving as conference photographer.

Following retirement, John has continued his interest in technology, serving Salem Presbytery as Communications Director, and First Presbyterian in Burlington as Communications Coordinator.

John is married to Debbie, a retired high school math teacher. With his marriage, John gained two lovely daughters: Jackie, who lives in Minneapolis and is a counselor in private practice, and Stephanie who works for an academic testing company, and lives with her husband Will in Chapel Hill.

After 44 years of service to the church, John continues to be amazed at God’s providence and blessing, and considers it a privilege to live the life to which he has been called.