Monday, February 5, 2007

How do you spell APCE?

Just returned from a wonderful conference in Philadelphia. It's sponsored by the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, or APCE. This is a fun group, and about 1100 of them showed up for their annual get-together in Philadelphia.

It was a deep privilege to spend four days as their worship leader and preacher. A number of friends agreed to help me out, including Wild Bill Pindar, my creative consultant (pictured left).

It was only fair to involve him. He was the first person to con me into playing jazz piano for a large group of Presbyterians. That was also in Philadelphia, back when the General Assembly of the church was celebrating its bicentennial. Pindar put me behind a piano across the street from the Liberty Bell. We were quickly joined by twenty-foot high puppets, jugglers, and the Ghost of John Witherspoon (the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence).

This conference was filled with other extraordinary characters, many of whom I've met over the twenty-plus years that I've served the church. It was Old Home Week, in a way.

What remains after this extraordinary week is the binding power of Christian friendship. So many dear people, so many connections between us. And we all enjoy the work of nurturing the Christian faith of those entrusted to us.

There are some cranks out there who think the Presbyterian Church is facing "utter ruin." Really? On what alternative planet are they residing? From where I sit, God continues to keep quite busy. Lives are being transformed through the work of Christian Educators, and I am proud to count them as my friends and companions in the work of Jesus Christ.

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