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Workshop C

Friday, January 26 – Workshop C
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


Come enjoy being a learner rather than the leader in an advanced Bible study of texts from the Gospel according to John. We will use various approaches of interpretation to delve deeper while also benefiting from engaging in contemplative practices and exploring various ways liturgy interprets scripture.
This Bible study continues through four workshop blocks and is designed with seasoned and retired educators/pastors in mind. If you choose this workshop track, you will sign-up for workshop 101 (A block), 301 (C block), 401 (D block), and 501 (E block).


Paracosms are highly detailed, imagined worlds developed by one or more persons and revisited often. The Bronte sisters developed paracosms, and C.S. Lewis and his brother “Warnie” developed a paracosm, complete with a written history and artifacts. They didn’t return to that world after they became adults, but, of course, C.S. Lewis created imagined worlds that many of us have visited on the page and on the screen. Often, paracosms are dismissed as play, but Christians create a paracosm every time we imagine a world where people “come from north and south and east and west and sit at table in the Kingdom of God.” Paracosms can be more than entertainment. They are excellent tools for teaching everything from ethics and theology to the SEL skills that make all of us better citizens in this world. In this workshop we will consider what paracosms are, looking at some of the more famous ones in literature and the arts, as well as the research findings on individuals who develop paracosms. We’ll consider the ways that paracosms can enhance aspects of Christian Education in the church and look at strategies and prompts for helping people (including participants!) develop their own paracosms.


As Christian religious institutions of all sizes and kinds emerge from the shutdowns enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic, many ask, “Where are the young families? What can we do to get them back? Why are they choosing not to come? What are we doing wrong?” All of this is leading to a high level of burnout for lay and ordained leadership. Everyone is looking for answers. This workshop will give some answers to these questions, sharing research conducted with both caregivers and congregational leaders. Data revealed that congregational leaders perceive the lack of engagement from families as a lack of interest at best and, at worst, a devaluing of spirituality and faith over and against other pursuits. However, caregivers revealed that they deeply value spirituality and issues of faith. Current parents are the children of yesterday’s church whose experiences were less than positive and sometimes even hurtful. Today, these parents feel a need to do something different. As a result, they are not disinterested in spirituality. They just aren’t convinced institutionalized forms of instruction and formation are the best choice for their children. Perhaps the isolation of Covid-19, for better or worse, further validated this assumption. How do we bridge the gap? Join us as we consider some potential pathways for congregations looking for new ways to meet the needs of families.


This workshop will both explore the essentials of a faithful sexuality program with youth and create a model plan for each person’s own congregation. Participants will consider research on the positive effects of sexuality education in the church and then will collaborate on ways to integrate this aspect of faithful living into their own faith formation programs. Bring a Bible and something with which to take notes. Play-doh will be provided.
Offered in parternship with the Presbyterian Youth Workers’ Association (PYWA).


In Hebrews 12 we read that faith is a lifelong race. Come explore the traditional meaning of the sacraments and how, putting those theological understandings into language children can understand, can create lifelong disciples. When adults and children understand that baptism is our “saying yes” to the race, the Lord’s Supper is the water stations along the way, and the race itself is our struggle to bring justice, inclusion, reconciliation, and hope to the world. We will unpack the theology around the sacraments, explore the meaning and purpose of our Christian call as a group, and collaborate on ways to talk about the sacraments with children.

No workshop during this block

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