A “Big Tent” First

by Rev. Kathy Dale McNair, Winnteka Presbyterian Church, parish associate
Kathy McNair

2013 Big Tent combined 10 national Presbyterian conferences and a single theme: “Putting God’s First Things First” (Matt. 6:33–34). It was held August 1–3 in Louisville, KY.

It was my first time. Going to Big Tent.

Great concept. Ten national conferences of the church come together under one tent so everyone attending can benefit from all that is offered.

I attended the media track workshops for the most part. I learned new vocabulary like “uncon,” which is short for “unconference”. Rev. Carol Howard Merritt facilitated this workshop which was called “Getting It Together―Doers and Movers Learning from One Another in Unconference”. She had us experience new ways to engage one another in a workshop setting. It is a really wonderful way to change the minimal contact experience into meaningful personal engagement.

I loved seeing evidence of some of the 1001 New Ministries being launched. “Sweaty Sheep” engages high performance, endurance athletes to build awareness in all that our whole bodies are the temple of God.

Ron Peters and Neal Presa lead opening worship at Big Tent. © Danny Bolin, courtesy of Presbyterian News Service.

Ron Peters and Neal Presa lead opening worship at Big Tent. © Danny Bolin, courtesy of Presbyterian News Service.

I had not heard of DOOR, a wonderful immersion mission experience. DOOR stands for “Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection”. A DOOR opportunity is right here in Chicago. Maybe I’ve been asleep. But I didn’t know this. Check it out.

I was very drawn to ACTIVE LIFE, another new PCUSA ministry. It also reminds all of us to attend to our bodies as part of our spiritual practices. We older folks need to be reminded of this. Most younger folks already know this. Grounding our awareness of our bodies with faithful practices helps us connect deeply with God. A physically active life can calm our minds and fill our spirits with the peace God has promised us.

There were some discouraging words about the future of PCUSA. They startled me. I know there is truth is much of what was said. But there was ample evidence that new ways of living faithful lives are blooming and are reviving our church in fresh new ways.

Leave a Public Comment

PC(USA) Seal

Home