Please select which workshops you would like to attend.

* indicates the workshop has a fee associated with it. See the workshop description for more information.

Workshop B

Thursday, January 25 — Workshop B
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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Using the art installations from the 2024 Annual Event, as well as those dreamed by class participants, we will explore materials, construction, and installation of art pieces that interpret scripture texts and themes for a deeper understanding of faith.

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This workshop offers biblical and theological foundation and practical help in ensuring the church’s full welcome and embrace of LGBTQIA+ people. We’ll acknowledge the different ways our churches have addressed issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and how views have changed. We’ll consider particular acts of hospitality we can take with our words and deeds to strengthen our congregations and our common life for all people. The workshop includes a basic overview of terminology, deeper theological reflection, and practical tips. Participants will share ideas and shape the content through their interests and needs.

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This workshop will examine several different techniques for creating worship environments that cost very little money, if any. We will also explore ways to acquire supplies and materials at very low costs. There will be time allowed for a small hands-on project that will demonstrate how easy it is to create a quality product at little or no financial burden.

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Death is the greatest mystery known to humankind! Unlike birth that welcomes and celebrates new life, death is shunned, frowned upon, and even viewed with disdain. The certainty that we will die, coupled with the complete uncertainty of when, how, or what happens beyond death is truly a fantastic paradox. We live in a death-denying culture. How we personally have experienced death is reflected in how we engage others during times of death and/or the dying process. As the Church is called to meet the caregiving needs of its congregation and surrounding communities – by journeying alongside those experiencing death in its varied expressions – it must be considered, is the Church reflective of who it’s called to be “on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10b),” as the living embodiment of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1)? This workshop asks, “Who must the Church become in order to extend compassionate presence, cultivate courageous conversations, and make meaningful connections while accompanying the other during the death and dying process?” Through critical discussion, group talk, and role play this workshop aims to help participants reach a theologically and critically informed understanding about death and dying and act as a catalyst in helping participants identify and use their spiritual gifts in service to and support for care seekers when experiencing their most vulnerable times of need in death and dying.

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As educators, we are thirsty for new ways to nurture faith. Yet, we would also like to know that the ideas we hear about have been tested and refined. We want to understand how a practice works and the reasons behind various components. And we wonder how to make sure a practice is a good ‘fit’ for our setting. This workshop, led by Children’s Spirituality Hub staff from Union Presbyterian Seminary, invites participants to drink from our wellspring of innovative practices. We’ll teach you three practices (Holy Listening, Embodied Prayer, and Questions?) designed and tested in multiple settings through the Hub. Holy Listening is a one-on-one practice with young children that uses a finger labyrinth, symbol stones, and a hand blessing to explore centering, emotions, and spiritual connections. Embodied Prayer involves movement-based prayers designed to help children experience spiritual connection with self, others, the natural world, and God. We tested a set of six themed prayers (Connection, Empowerment, Wonder, Awareness, Empathy, Justice) with groups ranging in size from 6 – 100+ kids. Questions? uses a set of infographic cards to help parents recognize the types of spiritual questions children are asking and guide families in exploring those questions together. You’ll learn how the practices work, as well as the child development and education theories that shaped their design. We’ll also show you how to integrate these ideas into existing ministries, as well as create new components (your own embodied prayer scripts) and approaches (using holy listening with groups) to fit your needs.

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Join Kirk Dunn, aka The Knitting Pilgrim, after he performs his one-man show of the same name, to talk about the miraculous transformation of a single strand into a fabric stitched with care, intention, and love. In this workshop, Kirk meets the participants at their skill level—beginner to advanced—and looks at three spiritual applications of this accessible artform: mindfulness, ministry, and craftivism. Each application is explored through small group brainstorming, knitting exercises, and free pattern/how-to handouts which participants can use to start a program of their own. Kirk will encourage and empower knitters to be the change they want to see in the world. Participants will leave the session with a deeper appreciation of what they can do for themselves, and, more importantly, for others… through the accessible craft of knitting.

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We’ll visit the St. Louis Gateway Arch as tourists, but as educators we’ll dig deeper to examine what it can teach us about colonialism, Manifest Destiny, and other challenging parts of our national and church history. This offsite workshop will equip us to learn from and look more carefully at the monuments in our own communities.
Fee: $30 (includes transportation to and from the Gateway Arch and a ticket for the tram to the top of the Arch)

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I will discuss the above-referenced topic, present questions/discussion points, and encourage dialogue to enlighten ways in which enslaved people were able to escape bondage. Faith, hope and trust in God guided them through their perilous journey. African American spirituals, many of them adapted and still used in our churches today, contained coded references to the next destination, etc. The theme will be how human dignity and perseverance trump unjust “laws” and systematic brutality. The goal will be to leave with a renewed sense of justice and ways we can overcome injustice in our world today.

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This workshop will open the window into the lived experience of people with disabilities. Come and hear their questions. Learn how to listen to the experience of people with disabilities in your community.
“What is your relationship with us and our families? We may be Included, but do we really Belong?”
“We are thirsty…Do you notice when we are not there? Do you know if we are sick, or if we just need transportation?”
“Do you know that we are looking for relationships, not a separate program with a label?”
Through our stories and our conversations, this workshop will equip you to walk beside us as we navigate the transition from being teens to living as adults in our communities. You will learn “best practices” for making your congregation a community of Belonging where our gifts and leadership are valued. The workshop will include small group time. Leaders from Presbyterians for Disability Concerns will facilitate conversations about implementing “best practices” in your congregation or community. Our spirits are renewed by community – a community which filters the barriers to our participation in Christ’s abundant love and grace.

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Too often Christian grievers are rushed to focus on the promise of heaven rather than faithfully navigating the process of grief, but grief is not a season of either/or. In this workshop, meant for grievers and helpers alike, participants will learn how to move through grief in a way that honors both their faith and the truths God reveals in the psychology of grieving. Phases of grief will be introduced and several tools will be taught to assist participants in learning the foundations of grief and faith, what emotions are, why it is crucial to embrace emotions, and why one’s spiritual life is so central to the grief journey.
Fee: $5

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Interact with a group of APCE Educator of the Year and Life Achievement Award winners as they share what they as “Seasoned Educators’ have learned over the years. Benefit from what they know now that they wished they had known when they first started and what they have learned from past “failures.”  If you have fresh seasoning to add or if you are a fresh, new-to-the-job educator, please join us! A time for Q & A will also be allotted.
This workshop will be approximately 1.5 hours.

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