VBS- Together We are God’s Family

VBS- Together We are God’s Family

Vacation Bible School, those words can bring excitement, anxiety, stress and worry as churches look for ways to share the stories of faith with our children. Last year, an idea was born when Eastminster Presbyterian of Simpsonville, SC, Fountain Inn Presbyterian of...
Visual Reflection: The Annunciation to Mary

Visual Reflection: The Annunciation to Mary

Reflection by Beth Herrinton-Hodge In 1998, I had the opportunity to travel to Taizé, France on a study tour with Estelle McCarthy and fellow alumnae from Presbyterian School of Christian Education (PSCE). It was a life-changing, soul-deepening journey. I selected a...
Visual Reflection for Advent: Is there any hope?

Visual Reflection for Advent: Is there any hope?

In my worship community, we use art and art-making in worship as another layer of preaching and liturgy. On this day, I offer the piece before reading the text and invite folks to consider and answer aloud: What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? This...
Visual Reflection for Advent: Thorvaldsen’s Christ

Visual Reflection for Advent: Thorvaldsen’s Christ

by John Earl Art during the season of Advent is more often to reflect the characters central to the season. The Holy Child, the Blessed Virgin, the humble Joseph and the distant shepherds. An honest Advent theology will ask; ‘What kind of Christ does our world now...
Dementia and the Church

Dementia and the Church

By: Karen Nichols Dementia is a disease vastly misunderstood in our world today; yet it is on the rise. In fact, every 66 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It is the sixth leading cause of death in America....
Caring of Older Adults in the Church

Caring of Older Adults in the Church

By: Julie Schaaf My first call to ministry was to serve as the chaplain of the Foothills Presbyterian Retirement Community in Easley, SC. At the time, I was one of five chaplains in our five separate Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) located throughout the...
Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network

Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network

By: Michelle Hendrix     POAMN: Resources, Information, and Answers by Michele Hendrix, POAMN President One of the roles of Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network is to provide resources, information, and answers to your questions. We are always...
From APCE’s 2019 Educator of the Year, Keith D. Sundberg

From APCE’s 2019 Educator of the Year, Keith D. Sundberg

By: Keith D. Sundberg APCE is pleased to announce the selection of Keith D. Sundberg at the 2019 ENRICH Educator of the Year. Keith will be recognized and his ministry celebrated on Friday, February 8, at the Awards Celebration Dinner during the 2019 Annual Event in...
From APCE’s 2019 Educator of the Year, Keith D. Sundberg

A Conversation with Dr. Thomas Long

By: Priscilla Andre-Colton Dr. Thomas Long is one of the plenary presenters for the 2019 Annual Event in Galveston. He will be speaking to the gathered body on Thursday and Friday and will lead a workshop on Friday afternoon. For more information about the annual...
From APCE’s 2019 Educator of the Year, Keith D. Sundberg

The Language of Faith Formation

By: Lisa Kimball Come to the 2019 APCE Annual Event in Galveston. Come and connect. Come be enriched. Come be empowered. Come be sustained. Through our worship, plenaries, music and workshops, we will examine the changing scene of faith formation and learn about ways...
From APCE’s 2019 Educator of the Year, Keith D. Sundberg

An Agenda for the Future of Faith Formation

By: John Roberto The 2019 APCE Annual Event in Galveston will explore these changes and how the church might respond. Through our worship, plenaries, music and workshops, we will examine the changing scene and learn about ways to engage these changes in ministry. Find...
From APCE’s 2019 Educator of the Year, Keith D. Sundberg

Come Now to the Waters!

By: Priscilla Andre-Colton   Anyone who lives near a coast knows the power of the tides. They influence everything that happens. My husband and I used to sail in the St. Johns River out of Jacksonville, FL. I learned early that the tides affected when we could...
Sanctuary Church

Sanctuary Church

By: Jocelyn (J.C.) Cadwallader Throughout history, Jesus—through the people of God—has provided safe haven to those vulnerable under the laws and customs of the time. In the years before the American Civil War, churches provided safety for enslaved people seeking...
Sanctuary Church

Light in the Midst of a Flood

By: Jeannie Sullivan Two days after the flood in South Carolina, October 2015, Downtown Church (DTC) in Columbia, SC started a fund to purchase diapers, wipes, baby food, and formula for victims of the flood. The first gift to that fund was $8,000. Our initial...
Sanctuary Church

Torches and Candles

By: Jill Duffield As worship unfolded in St. Paul’s Memorial Church, a stone’s throw away a parade of torch-wielding white nationalists marched on the grounds of the University of Virginia. Two by two, in formation, disciplined and organized they took over the famed...
Out of Chaos, Hope

Out of Chaos, Hope

By: Forrest Palmer “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it” John 1:5. It happened at night. Hurricane Hugo, a category 5 hurricane, slammed the coast of South Carolina and curved toward us in Charlotte. My wife, two sons and I huddled in...
Sanctuary Church

Darkness into Light in Puerto Rico

By: Omayra L. González Méndez On September 20, 2017, at 6:15 a.m. the history of Puerto Rico changed. Time stopped; nature paralyzed the Island. For the first time in modern history, Puerto Rico was hit by the forces of a Category 5 hurricane. The strong winds of more...
Sanctuary Church

Darkness Into Light

By: Pressley Cox “The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” John 1: 5  The Message Fires, floods, hurricanes, shootings, wars, and rumors of wars!  There is much darkness in the world.  How do churches prepare people to meet...
APCE’s “Why” The Second of a Two-Part Conversation

APCE’s “Why” The Second of a Two-Part Conversation

By: Ken McFayden Several weeks ago, I began a conversation on Why APCE? I hope my thoughts stimulated your thoughts as you reflect upon why APCE matters to you, to the church, and to people on a life-long journey of growth in faith. Today, I offer a glimpse into the...
APCE’s “Why” The Second of a Two-Part Conversation

Why APCE? The First of a Two-Part Conversation

By: Ken McFayden Since being installed as president at the 2018 annual event, the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) has become a more central part of my life. More of my time. More of my energy. More of my focus. And during a period of my life when...
Christmas in July ~ From the Archives

Christmas in July ~ From the Archives

By: Sandy Safford This article from the archives originally ran in 2016. Looking for some new ideas for the coming church season? This post is intended to give you some resources to consider for the months ahead. Maybe it will just remind you of something you haven’t...
Christmas in July ~ From the Archives

Room in the Inn: Serving Our Neighbors on Christmas Day

By: British Hyrams Among the people I polled, their descriptions of Christmas 2017 included the following: Wonderful! Out of the ordinary. One of the best! On par with ALL of them (emphasis added). Of particular note is that these volunteers were referring to their...
Christmas in July ~ From the Archives

Sunday after Christmas

By: Joyce MacKichan Walker No matter where it falls in the week after Christmas, the next Sunday can be a challenge. Another service of lessons and carols? A family-friendly hour that might include all-ages in leadership? Some poetry, liturgical dance – worship...
Christmas in July ~ From the Archives

Christmas in July

By: Pressley Cox Did you know that according to a Southern Living article, Christmas in July started in 1933 at Keystone girls’ camp in Brevard, North Carolina. It began as a theme for a summer camp celebration, not in a church or by a marketing company. This first...
From the Archives: Creativity as a Starting Place

From the Archives: Creativity as a Starting Place

By: Shawna Bowman We conclude our series on Faith Formation in a Visual Culture with an article that first appeared in the Advocate in September 2015. When God began to create the heavens and the earth—the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep...
Visual Faith and the Bible Project

Visual Faith and the Bible Project

By: Amber Dillon What is the Bible? People have tried to answer this question for years. Some say it is a hodgepodge of inspirational insights; others see it as a controlling, oppressive rulebook. With definitions like these, how can we approach such daunting...
Visio Divina

Visio Divina

By: Carol Wehrheim In this day when visual images often hold more sway than the spoken word, we ought to pay attention to a spiritual practice that focuses on image: visio divina (divine vision). The same four movements that are found in lectio divina (divine word)...
Faith Formation in a Visual Culture

Faith Formation in a Visual Culture

By: Pressley Cox For centuries, the Church has relied on visual images as touchstones and reminders of key Bible stories and important elements of our faith. From stone carvings and stained glass images to flannel-board pieces, wooden figures and colorful banners,...
APCE’s “Why” The Second of a Two-Part Conversation

Tween Camp

By: Doodle Harris We started Tween Camp six years ago.    It began after a year of successful presbytery events for middle school youth and high school youth. Young people from different churches were beginning to connect. They’d exchanged snap chats and phone...
APCE’s “Why” The Second of a Two-Part Conversation

Created to Be Me Camp

By: Beth Herrinton-Hodge I can think of few more life-changing experiences for youth than the opportunity to develop a healthy self-esteem and appreciation of one’s person and body as a precious gift from God.   The church is in a particularly opportune position to...
Reflecting on The Well at Burke Presbyterian Church

Reflecting on The Well at Burke Presbyterian Church

By: Arlene Decina   For the past five summers at Burke Presbyterian Church (BPC), we have taken a leap—from the traditional Vacation Bible School (VBS) that had always been a highlight of our children’s programming—into something that has been, for us, new and...
Finding  Space  and  Time  through  Confirmation  Retreats

Finding Space and Time through Confirmation Retreats

By: Jacob Sorenson Too often, people think of confirmation as a class. Those in the Reformed traditions seem to have a particular knack of reducing confirmation ministry to a transfer of knowledge. When lessons come after busy school days, it reinforces this notion....
Mission Camp @ VBS

Mission Camp @ VBS

By: Kathryn McGregor Each summer, our church hosts a large, well-established Vacation Bible School (VBS). The VBS leaders began to notice, however, that participation by fourth- and fifth-graders was decreasing. These children said they felt that they had outgrown...
Finding God at Camp

Finding God at Camp

By: What is it about getting away from our normal routines and into a camp setting that makes it easier to hear the voice of God? The Advocate will explore that question and others like it over the next few weeks as we share stories of faith formation in camp...
A Prayer Reflection for Easter

A Prayer Reflection for Easter

By: A Prayer Reflection for Easter They went to the tomb and he was not there. In his place, a mound of discarded clothes and a young man. This wasn’t what they expected. So much in these past days had not been what they expected. A festive arrival in the old city. An...
From the Archives: Creativity as a Starting Place

From the Archives: Teach Us to Pray

By: Debra Rienstra During Lent we will be reposting some excellent articles from our archives aimed at supporting you, the Educator, during this season of reflection, prayer and spiritual renewal. You may find a new idea or two for future Lenten programming, as well....
From the Archives: Creativity as a Starting Place

From the Archives: Living Better, Not Bitter

By: Debby Madden During Lent we will be reposting some excellent articles from our archives aimed at supporting you, the Educator, during this season of reflection, prayer and spiritual renewal. You may find a new idea or two for future Lenten programming, as well....
From the Archives: Creativity as a Starting Place

Keeping it Simple

By: James Tyrell During Lent we are publishing some great articles from our archives. This article was first published in the Winter 2009 edition.  Over the last three years, my wife and I have taken several steps to simplify our lives. The simplification we call...
Call for Workshop Proposals

Call for Workshop Proposals

By: Priscilla Andre-Colton Our next Annual Event will be February 6-9, 2019 in Galveston, Texas.  Our theme invites us to explore new ways of equipping those who shape how faith is formed in a sea of change.  Change is all around us, in the church, in our communities...
From the Archives: Creativity as a Starting Place

From the Archives: Fear Not?

By: Brian Blount During Lent we will be reposting some excellent articles from our archives. As we struggle with the aftermath of another school shooting in the US, Brian Blount’s words from 2014 are relevant again. He reflected on fear as APCE looked toward the...
Ashes to Go

Ashes to Go

By: I didn’t want to like it. The whole idea sounded a little contrived to me. I had read about people setting up Ash Wednesday ashes on a street corner, but didn’t like the idea of something rushed, outside of the atmosphere of worship. I got talked into...
Greetings from the Advocate Ministry Team!

Greetings from the Advocate Ministry Team!

By: The Advocate Team Most of us were able to gather in Louisville at the 2018 APCE Annual Event. With hundreds of other educators from across the wider church, we worshiped and workshopped, heard challenging and inspiring reflections on hospitality, and connected...
Singing Faith All Day Long

Singing Faith All Day Long

By: Ingrid Ladendorf I have a vivid memory of singing “God made the sea and God made me” in our Methodist worship when I was in first grade. There were many aspects of that experience that are memorable, but the words in my head have remained connected to that melody...
A New Song: Secular Music in Ministry

A New Song: Secular Music in Ministry

By: Steve Lindsley As a grade-school kid, I have vivid memories of my father sitting at the foot of my bed at night, six-string guitar in hand, singing me to sleep with beautiful lullabies. They were not, however, typical bedtime fare. Leave it to my Dad to soothe me...
Get Ready for the Annual Event!

Get Ready for the Annual Event!

By: Are you joining us in Louisville for the APCE Annual Event? Make sure to stop by the Advocate topic forum on Wednesday, January 31 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM (check your locator guide for the room.) Help us make this blog an even better resource for you and your...