Gathering more than 1,550 Presbyterians in any one place takes a lot of God’s grace, patience and volunteers.
At Big Tent, Aug. 1-3 here, about 60 volunteers have been recruited to serve as registration helpers, greeters, guides, ticket takers and worship aides, among other tasks. They are ably organized and shepherded around the Kentucky International Convention Center and other Big Tent venues by Andrea Trautwein and Sue Lutz.
Trautwein, a member of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church in Louisville, was recruited by then executive of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery Betty Meadows and the Rev. Susan Moorefield, associate pastor at Louisville’s Second Presbyterian Church, where Trautwein serves as an office manager.
“I love to organize stuff and meet new people, so it’s really fun to be part of this,” she says.
Lutz, who serves the Board of Pensions as its Louisville representative working with plan members on the national staff of the PC(USA) says, “The planners wanted all six of the national agencies represented and I live here in Louisville (the BOP is based in Philadelphia) so I was the natural choice. My involvement just kind of evolved into working with the volunteers.”
Big Tent volunteers have come from a variety of sources. “Online registration included a box for volunteering,” Trautwein says. “We also sent out bulletin inserts and newsletter blurbs to congregations in Mid-Kentucky and adjoining presbyteries. We’re not really sure how they all heard about it.”
Adds Lutz: “We’ve even had some people just walk into the convention center and ask how they could help. And family members of Presbyterian Center employees have been very generous with their time.”
Trautwein and Lutz say there have been plenty of volunteers to meet the needs of a gathering that has drawn more than 1,500. Big Tent is a celebration of Presbyterian mission and ministry organized around the theme “Putting God’s First Things First.” It’s composed of 10 national Presbyterian conferences, more than 160 workshops and special events to mark the 30th anniversary of Presbyterian reunion and the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Presbyterian Center here.
Asked if she would do this again, Trautwein says, “Of course I would!”