2016 Presbytery Day

This year's theme is Christian Education, highlighting both the Biblical call to life-long learning and our passion as Presbyterians for approaching God with our minds as well as our hearts. You won't want to miss this day of workshops and conversation designed to help you and your congregation deepen your Christian education ministry for all ages.

Here are the details:

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

Where: First Presbyterian, 125 Holden St, Worcester, MA

Cost: $10 per person, lunch is included


9:00 am On-site registration, fellowship, and refreshments

9:30 am Opening worship with the Rev. Dr. Al Padilla presenting a keynote sermon

10:45 am First series of workshops - all but Godly Play will be repeated in the afternoon

12:15 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Second series of workshops including Godly Play Part 2

2:45 pm Closing worship



2016 Workshops and Leaders

Keynote Sermon: The Rev. Dr. Al Padilla will be preaching on Deuteronomy 6, the foundational call to teach the story of our faith to all generations. The sermon will set the tone for our day together, grounding us in the Biblical rationale for Christian education and challenging us to be more intentional about how we engage all ages in learning.

Workshops: All workshops except Godly Play will be offered twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  The Godly Play workshop will be offered as two parts. See below for more information.

Models of Youth Ministry: led by Jeff Ferguson, Candidate and founder of The Abbey, a 1001 New Worshiping Community

Each church has different needs when it comes to their youth ministry. Explore different models for reaching your youth and their friends.

Triennium: led by Lindsay Goetz, Boston Presbytery's Triennium Registrar

Are you interested in learning more about Triennium? Coordinating with other leaders and groups? Discussing fundraising ideas to help cover the costs? Join Lindsay to explore these topics and more!

Parenting in the Pews: led by the Rev. Dr. Ruthie Seiders, Pastor for NextGen Ministries at Grace Chapel in Lexington

The vows we take when a child is dedicated or baptized are not just empty words. Parents have a huge responsibility to raise their children in the faith, but they were never meant to have to do it alone! Come discover how (and why!) to equip your parents with ideas for the home, and your congregation members for how (and why!) to be faith parents in the pews.

Designing Adult Bible Studies: led by the Rev. Eric Markman, Pastor at the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church and Ruling Elder Suresh Kumar

This seminar will explore the process of creating and teaching practical Bible studies for your congregation.  Together they have taught 3 to 5 week Bible studies on topics such as Contentment, Reconciliation, Making Decisions, Detours in Life, and Uncertainty. They will go over the creative process and how to teach Bible studies with the active participation of the class.  They will also make available copies of the Bible studies they have already taught.


Godly Play: led by Tina Manuel, certified Godly Play leader (this workshop is two parts, so please plan to attend both the morning and afternoon session)

"This is a very special place. This is a special place to be with God, to hear the stories of God, to listen and to talk with God." So begins a Godly Play lesson. Godly Play is a way of being in worship with young children. While full of developmentally appropriate, interactive learning, it is centrally a way for both adults and children to grow in love for God and one another. It enables children to bring their lived experiences into relation with God. They do this by experiencing God in the Biblical stories and in the natural creative work of children: play.

Part 1 will focus on experiencing a Godly Play Session and Part 2 will give you a chance to wonder, observe, and discuss the experience and how you could use Godly Play in your setting.

Creating Space for Cross-Cultural Dialogue: led by the Rev. Dr. Al Padilla

Each of us brings a cultural lens to the reading and understanding of the Bible, whether that lens comes from experiences in a different country or a different part of this country. Creating space to hear one another's viewpoints can allow them to deepen our perspective and faith, and understanding our own lenses can help us be aware of our own cultural assumptions.

Welcoming Children with Special Needs: led Elena Hogan, Director of SHINE Ministry at Grace Chapel in Lexington

What steps can the church make to ensure that ALL children can in fact come to learn about Jesus? A recent study reported that 1/3 of families who have a child with a disability have either been asked to leave Sunday school or have willingly left because they felt their child wasn't welcome. This workshop will explore using a buddy ministry, pairing those who have hearts to serve and a willingness to learn with families whose children have special challenges. This is one way you can provide a welcome, loving, supportive, and encouraging faith community for all of God's people.

Teaching for Biblical Literacy in Congregations: led by the Rev. Dr. Christy Lang Hearlson

Protestants often complain about Biblical illiteracy in congregations, but we're not always sure what we mean by that. Come explore different ways of thinking about Biblical literacy, learn a little history of this term and the complaint, and try out some new practices for teaching the Bible in your congregation.