Saturday, March 16, 2024 from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM CDT
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Trinity Presbyterian Church 
1900 E Barataria
Springfield, MO 65804

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Patty Orchard 
John Calvin Presbytery 


This event, designed for church members, ruling elders, CRE's, and pastors, will explore practical tools and resources for preparing sermons, leading worship, visiting the sick, and leading educational experiences. 
This gathering will assist churches large and small,  urban and rural, to meet existing challenges by building confidence and empowering lay individuals to more actively "be the church"  in this changing world.
Our hope is that the critical connections obtained at this event-- connections to individuals in John Calvin Presbytery and to other resources--will be the first step in a continuing effort to fill gaps in important ministries.

9:00 Registration

9:30 Worship

10:15 Workshop 1 (Select from 3 options)

11:45 Lunch and Connections

1:00 Workshop 2 (Select from 3 options)

2:30 Closing worship

3:30 On our way home 

About Our Presenters

Rev. Jerry Cannon is the Vice President for Innovation for the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  He routinely explores groundbreaking solutions for small churches.  

Rev. Susan Forshey, PhD, is the Associate Professor of Discipleship & Christian Formation for the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. She also serves as the Associate Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Beth McCaw teaches ministry and serves as Dean at the University of Dubuque Seminary.  During several of her 20 years at UDTS she also ministered bi-vocationally as leader in Glacier presbytery among diverse congregations, where she witnessed the Spirit at work in church renewal.  In other seasons of life she has served in mental health care, church pastoral ministry, and global missions with her teacher husband.

Timothy Slemmons, PhD, is a PC(USA) Minister of Word and Sacrament, who has served churches in PA and NJ and preached as far afield as Jamaica, Scotland, and Malawi. An advocate for lectionary expansion, a translator of forgotten Reformation sources, and an indie recording artist putting difficult psalms to use once more in a series of records called Revenant Psalms, Tim currently serves as Professor of Homiletics and Worship and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 2008.

Workshop choices


 1A--Showing Up for Those Waiting for the Church--We learned during the height of COVID that the suffering of others is deepened when we are cut off from the presence of the church. In this workshop we will learn how to bring church community to those who are less mobile by virtue of being in the hospital, residential care facility, rehabilitation center, etc. You will grow in confidence on how to deeply bless others by simple visits, attentive witness, sharing news and encouragement. We will also cover the aspects of visiting hours and protocols, how to not overstay a welcome, confidentiality, and recognizing limitations such as reduced mental capacity due to medical treatment or dementia.  Dr. Beth McCaw

1B--New Life in the Psalms--Scratch the surface of these 'songs of the Spirit' and you find the vitality they offer both breathtaking and endlessly inspiring. All the great theologians recognized the utter uniqueness of this central and largest book of the Bible and testified to the incomparable gifts it bears for the life, faith, health, and edification of the church. With a view to both planning worship and preaching, this workshop will rekindle your love for and wonder at the Psalms.  Dr. Tim Slemmons

1C--Cultivating Holy Habits: This is Your Brain on Grace--The human brain is an amazing God-given creation, yet our approaches to formation, education, prayer, and liturgical spaces, often seem to work against how the brain learns. Drawing upon the most recent studies in cognitive & expertise sciences, art & music, and the centuries of graced intuition about how to cultivate habits of love and holiness, this workshop will offer ways to reframe spiritual disciplines and educational formation that work with the brains amazing capacities for memory-making and willpower. A fully sensory experience for educators, pray-ers, worship leaders, and anyone longing to taste the "unforced rhythms of grace" which Jesus promises.  Dr. Susan Forshey 

1D--A Conversation for Pastors and CREs ONLY--A second opportunity for conversation with Jerry Cannon.  Likely a smaller group, less structure.  What might emerge?  Innovation, pastor burnout, stewardship...?  Pick up a cup of coffee on the way to the room!


2A--Caring Presence With Those Hurting--Have you sometimes felt at a loss in witnessing someone struggling with pain, suffering, doubt, conflict? In this workshop we will learn how to come alongside others with confidence in the presence of God's comforting Spirit, listen with compassion, and pray in simple ways that assure the other that the God of love is near. This workshop will help deacons, elders, parents, teachers - anyone who wants to care for others in a way informed by our faith in God.  Dr. Beth McCaw

2B--'The Purest Gospel: Preaching 1 John in Easter--The course of the epistle reading in the season of Easter (Year B of the Revised Common Lectionary) spends six weeks on 1 John, a letter that one early Reformer called "the purest gospel." Perhaps the Bible's richest book (in light of its brevity), these six Sundays (Second through Seventh Easter) nevertheless represent its only appearance in the three-year cycle of the Sunday lectionary. This workshop will suggest several approaches to preaching this priceless epistle and making the most of the time and opportunity as you do.  Dr. Tim Slemmons

2C--Praying in Space and Time: Using the Book of Common Worship in Home, Church, and Life--The PCUSA BCW offers a beautiful foundation for practicing prayer, discipleship, and worship in all spheres of life from domestic to church to world, yet it is a resource rarely used. This workshop will introduce participants to its contents, with a focus on the Daily Office and Psalter, The Service for the Lord's Day, and the Church Year. We will explore how the BCW can be used as a primary resource for education in the faith and adult formation; an outline and inspiration for the ordering one's own daily prayer and life of discipleship, as families or singles; and a ready resource for crafting Sunday worship.  Dr. Susan Forshay

2D--A Conversation for Ruling Elders ONLY--Join Jerry Cannon and other elders from around our presbytery to hear about experiments in similar settings in other parts of the country.  Talk about hopes and dreams for your church.  Explore what God may be calling your church to do.

This event is made possible by a Lily grant to Dubuque Theological Seminary, a grant to John Calvin Presbytery from the Synod of Mid-America, the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the shared mission gifts of the congregations of John Calvin Presbytery.
A block of hotel rooms at the Hampton Inn on South Glenstone is available for reservations through February 21.