A conference organizer predicts that the National Elders Conference, part of the Big Tent Aug. 1-3, will be a chance for ruling elders “to connect, to explore issues that they encounter and to hear from others who have been called to serve.” 

Martha Miller, coordinator for Ruling Elder Resources and Elder Certification with Mid Council Ministries in the Office of the General Assembly, said the conference is designed for ruling elders “who want to more faithfully serve with energy, intelligence, imagination and love as they guide their congregations to become communities of faith, hope, love and witness.” 

“This conference offers a variety of opportunities for education and growth,” she said, “including full-day elder training on Friday (Aug. 2) in English, Korean and Spanish.” 

Speakers and workshop leaders are representative of the church’s diversity. They include Bruce Reyes-Chow, former moderator of the General Assembly; Martin and Jieun Han; Loyda Aja, an associate stated clerk in the Office of the General Assembly; Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly; and Rob Fohr, young adult catalyst for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Their talks range from “Women’s Leadership in the Immigrant Context: The Korean Case” to “The Ministry of Ruling Elders After Session Service.” 

Following the conference, Miller said she plans to work with her colleague, Molly Casteel, to provide more online resources, networking opportunities and ways for elders to tell their stories. 

“In some ways, this year’s conference is a jumping-off point as the elder training is available in three languages,” Miller said. “As we go forward post-conference, we will be very intentional about resources being available in these three languages as well.”

Mike Ferguson will be covering the National Elders Conference at Big Tent 2013.