APCE 2023: What a year for Moravian educators

Even after retirement, I managed to go to the 2023 Annual Event for Association of Partners in Christian Education in Birmingham the end of January. This continuing education event is my “go to” to keep up to date with resources, pick up lots of creative ideas to stimulate my brain and my ministry in faith formation not to mention reconnect with many colleagues over the years. 2023 did not disappoint.

One of our Moravian educators, Jami Vandock from Raleigh Moravian, co-chaired the event, along with Mary Todd Peters from the Presbyterian Church USA. What a job this pair did. With the theme of Rhythm of Grace featuring John Pavlovitz as the lead presenter along with other leaders, it was inspiring.

The talent of Moravian educators was visible all week with stunning stoles made for the leaders and paraments to go with the theme designed by Joyce Vance, one of our retired educators. We had about 14 educators attend from Northern and Southern Provinces along with several lay leaders; Marie Couts and Christy Clore both were workshop presenters.

Two Moravian educators were recognized as newly certified, Rachel Butts from King Moravian Church and Evie Blum from New Philadelphia Moravian Church.  Some of our lay leaders were inspired enough to come back and pursue what it would take to be certified.

Other than seeing the visual part that Moravian educators contributed each day, a high point for me was to be a bell ringer and candle lighter for the memorial service for educators who had died in 2022. Not only was my certification mentor in the list of names but one of our first Moravian educators, Margaret Higgins, was recognized in the memorial service. This was a very moving and insightful moment for me to be a part of recognizing two outstanding educators who had passed in 2022 but had given so much to faith formation ministry in the church.

The APCE annual event is a great experience for many educators and lay leaders in faith formation in congregations. The event for 2024 will be no different. It will be held in St. Louis from January 24-27 with the theme of Come All Who Are Thirsty as the emphasis for 2024.

If you are interested in attending this premier event, come join other educators from the various denominations that make up Association of Partners in Christian Education. There are scholarships available not only through APCE but through the Moravian Church Southern Province. You can check for details at the apcenet.org website or call the offices of congregational development in the Moravian Church Southern Province to find out more about the various scholarship help. You will not be sorry.

Beth Hayes is a Christian educator who recently retired from the Southern Province.