APCE inspiration

Written by Kathy Gillmore, Grayslake Wildwood Presbyterian Church

Some of the educators from Chicago Presbytery on our free night at Universal City Walk attempting to live into the theme of APCE 2013 -- "Let Us Play!" Photo by Grayson Van Camp

I am so refreshed and inspired after attending the APCE annual event! It is a good feeling to be excited to put into practice the many ideas that I have noted in workshops, plenary presentations, and conversations around the table at shared meals. Sometimes our “to do” lists convict us with reminders of what is late and what is left yet to accomplish in what little time we have. My new “to do” is a list of joyful ideas that I long to put into action!

One such action item is to play. The APCE theme for this year’s event was “Let Us Play!” Our keynote speaker, Jaco Hamman, led us to embrace play as a spiritual practice, one that can allow the Holy Spirit to sneak into our busy lives or call us to thank God for a beautiful encounter with nature. Genuine joy bubbled up in the giggles and outright laughter he and our worship leaders coaxed from our weary spirits. The games, dances, and songs awakened a playfulness that touched us personally and bonded us in community. That joy refreshed and energized me and fed my spirit for the journey back to my church family to share what I learned and share joy through play.

Jaco J. Hamman, author of A Play-Full Life: Slowing Down and Seeking Peace, shared with us six practices that invite the benefits of play into our lives. #1 Realness, #2 Creativity, #3 Boundlessness, #4 Slowness, #5 Hospitality, and #6 Transcendence. He proposed that play opens our souls to a new understanding of God and certainly links us to others.

Fourteen educators from the Chicago Presbytery came to learn and play and be in wonderful fellowship together in Orlando for this event. While we soaked up the sunshine inbetween classes and workshops we walked and talked and supported one another. The benefits of this association enrich particularily hungry people always looking for new approaches, fresh ideas, but are so busy providing educational experiences for others they rarely take time to refuel. Let us continue to play!

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