Resource Center Work Day

Thanks so much to local members of APCE (Association of Presbyterian Church Educators) for gathering representatives in the Chicago Presbytery Resource Center on November 8th to look through the Christian Education section of our presbytery’s collection.

After hearing a summary of the Resource Center’s strengths (great materials on a breadth of topics, cataloged in a database that syncs with the presbytery website) and weaknesses (outdated materials crowd out the good ones, low circulation), the educators decided to go through new acquisitions and the Christian Education section and pull out materials in three ways:

  • to trash – those that contain inaccuracies due to new developments
  • to keep – those that are new or classic and need to be centrally available for check-out
  • to give away to churches at the November 19th Assembly – materials that are quality, but do not need to be available for high circulation

Volunteer-In-Mission, Terry Jackson, who wrote the database and checkout program, removed materials from the catalog, “declassifying” them so those materials could be laid to rest or prepared to be distributed to churches or individuals.

Having educators look through materials that are from their field of knowledge allowed work to go quickly, and people left with a sense of satisfaction, saying that the work felt cathartic and useful. Others will reap the benefits of the couple hours spent on the Resource Center – new materials that haven’t been entered into the catalog were identified, outdated materials were sent to be recycled, and approximately 200 books were marked to be given away – materials that are still valuable, but that don’t need to be kept in the Resource Center for high circulation.


Overall, a couple hundred books were boxed to give away at Assembly, and 3 entire bookcarts of new acquisitions ordered in the last year or donated from Wabash Valley Presbytery’s Resource Center were emptied and sorted, and dozens of unnecessary duplicates were removed from the catalog.

We broke for lunch together. It is so valuable to have the skills of members of our presbytery applied to areas that cannot be handled by one person working alone. In addition to the good work done, the generosity of the time volunteered delighted presbytery staff.

We hope that relevant groups can continue to come into the Resource Center and make their mark. Bookshelves in the Resource Center are naturally divided into topical sections that correspond pretty clearly to existing groups and teams:

  1. Bible and Bible Study
  2. Christian Education
  3. Church Leadership
  4. Church Organizational Development
  5. Stewardship
  6. Church History
  7. Evangelism
  8. Multicultural Resources
  9. Personal Development
  10. Mission
  11. Social Justice
  12. Theology
  13. Presbyterians
  14. Worship

If your group is interested in helping to improve the Resource Center, please contact Laura Cathey at There are opportunities for guiding new acquisitions, culling unwanted materials, working with the database, promoting and marketing, improving signage, and ideas you dream up.

The Presbytery of Chicago’s Resource Center was founded in the 1980s to support congregations, elders, educators, worship leaders, and members of Presbytery looking to learn from the collected wisdom of other trailblazers and seekers of knowledge. The catalog is searchable online and checkouts can be made on location or by mail order.

Presbytery of Chicago Resource Center
815 W. Van Buren, Ste. #500
Chicago IL, 60607

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