2015 Conference Workshops


Morning Workshops

Immigration and Its Reform [M1]

The current immigration debate in the US often ignores the underlying causes of immigration, especially from Latin America, and preempts attempts at a Christian response. Our workshop will consider some of those neglected causes as well as the concrete effects of existing immigration policy. We will also discuss the promise and limits of legislative reform and the church’s mission, whether there is national legislative reform or not.

Workshop Leader: Tommy Givens

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Critical Global Initiative: Poverty [M2]

The Presbyterian Church and its mission community have identified global poverty as one of three great needs that must be addressed. Poverty, as well as witness and reconciliation, demand responses from Christians. Workshop leader Dr. Frank Dimmock is Catalyst for Poverty for Presbyterian World Mission. He leads and coordinates the combined efforts of people committed to attacking the root causes of global poverty. The initial strategy employed is education: bringing quality education to 1,000,000 children in one year.

Workshop Leader: Dr. Frank Dimmock

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Presenting the Gospel in Our Unchurched Culture [M3]

In this workshop discover a way to present a larger vision of the Gospel — one closer to what Jesus taught. Learn why the Big Story — including those parts of the story: “designed for good,” “damaged by evil,” “restored for better,” and “sent together to heal” — connects with students and faculty who live in an increasingly unchurched culture and encourages believers to share a faith that truly feels like good news.

Workshop Leader: James Choung

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Abolishing Chronic Homelessness [M4]

Abolishing chronic homelessness requires moving people through the guilt and shame attached to their homeless situations. More purposeful actions, not charity, are required. Choosing the right actions and working in collaboration with others are the keys to ultimately solving chronic homelessness. In this workshop you will explore how to engage your community in the housing effort and become a collaborative partner, working with other churches, the government, non-profits, and the business community.

Workshop Leaders: Jeff Shaffer & Rich Sander

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Faithful Response: Three Keys to Healing Trauma Locally, Regionally, and At-a-Distance [M5]

A lawyer once asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells a story about a man, beaten and left for dead on a roadside. Two faith leaders passed by. A third traveler draws near, is moved, and responds. The sequence, Jesus says, depicts what it means to be a neighbor: We are called to respond to the trauma in our path. The effects of trauma are all around us. Learn the three keys for healing trauma at home, nearby, and far away

Workshop Leader: Dr. Katherine Wiebe

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Afternoon Workshops

Playing in the World, His Earth [A1]

In spite of often virulent controversy, many Christians over the past generation have moved from resisting to effectively contributing to environmental stewardship, doing so on multiple fronts. But in rightly affirming a moral mandate to care for the earth, we may overlook a crucial truth: you can’t tend what you don’t love. In this session we will explore not only the scientific and biblical rationale for creation care, but also the biological and scriptural basis of “biophilia” – cherishing and enjoying God’s living world.

Workshop Leader: Jeff Schloss

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The Third Third of Life [A2]

Retirement is a misleading, and perhaps life threatening idea. Life and work and play do not stop when we enter a new stage of life. Rather, as we have always done, we realign the portfolio of activities and commitments that will define our calling today and tomorrow. Looking at purpose, passion, experience, relationships and renewal, this workshop probes the questions that shape meaning and resilience in life as we move forward. We plan for 30 more years and live as if we have 30 more days.

Workshop Leader: Walter C. Wright, Jr.

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Missional Church: Congregations and Their Mission Fields [A3]

Graham Baird has founded and pastored three New Church Developments. His ministry experience includes also leading large, medium, and small sized existing congregations in reaching their communities. Each of these new churches had its own flavor and ministry approach, yet each of them has been successful in connecting with the particular mission field in which it was located. Combining a combination of “attractional” and “missional” approaches, Graham and his team have sought, most of all, to “Meet People Where They Are”. Graham’s workshop will reveal how main-line denominational churches can more effectively reach their mission fields in fruitful and successful ways.

Workshop Leader: Graham Baird

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Toward Decent Shelter for All [A4]

Jon Peterson, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Southern Santa Barbra County, will talk about basic housing generally and Habitat for Humanity specifically. Habitat, a Christian ministry, was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple and decent place to live in dignity and safety. Habitat is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness through constructing, rehabilitating, and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their housing conditions. He will offer many ways for you to get involved. His colleague Alexandra Hamill will assist him in leading the workshop.

Workshop Leader: Jon Peterson

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Preventing Human Trafficking: the Role of Foster Care [A5]

One of society’s needs is stable living environments for youth who have been removed from their family of origin or have emerged out of the foster care system unprepared for the demands of independent living. When these youth are provided nurturing, safe families, and/or independent living assistance, they are surrounded by individuals who help them make positive choices for their immediate needs and future goals. Youth in these programs are far less vulnerable to human traffickers. Workshop leader Paul Malouf and his employer, Family Care Network, Inc., have several programs which supply these needs, which he will describe.

Workshop Leader: Paul Malouf

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Serving in the Middle East: Hope Amidst the Suffering[L]

Revs. Scott and Elmarie Parker serve as Presbyterian Church (USA) workers in an area of the Middle East. They will lead a discussion regarding current conditions in the region where they work and live, along with how these conditions are impacting PCUSA Partners and their continuing work of worship and ministry. Though there is much over which to be deeply concerned, there are also stories of hope to be heard and shared. Bring your questions and come ready to hear the witness received first hand from local church leaders on the ground in these areas of conflict and chaos.

Workshop Leaders: Scott and Elmarie Parker

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