The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s fourth Big Tent event runs July 30–August 1, 2015 in Knoxville, Tennessee. For the first time, Big Tent will be held on a college campus to build on that deep sense of community that you’d expect at a national gathering of Presbyterians.
By utilizing the University of Tennessee campus, the event is also all-inclusive and extra affordable— therefore making it possible that more Presbyterians can come together for a time of fellowship.
Unlike previous Big Tents that have consisted of various individual conferences, this year’s Big Tent will offer a wide variety of workshops and speakers—all designed to inspire and equip Presbyterians to live missionally.
Participants will gather for worship and inspiration several times during the event, starting with opening worship on Thursday, July 30 at 4:00 p.m., featuring Jana Childers, professor of Homiletics and Speech-Communication at San Francisco Theological Seminary.
There are pre- and post-Big Tent options for education and networking offered by various ministries and groups. And after Big Tent, the Presbytery of East Tennessee invites everyone to visit one of its welcoming congregations before they head for home on Sunday morning.
Knoxville, Tennessee, is situated at the crossroads of three major interstates: I-75, I-40, and I-81. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just 45 minutes from Knoxville. There will be something for the whole family, including children’s programming and other activities.
Big Tent is considered a homecoming for many, and to celebrate that, on Friday, July 31, participants will be able to choose from a variety of family-friendly activities including music, movies, ice cream, informal gatherings, and fun—all to celebrate what is sure to be a great big family reunion.
The first Big Tent was held in Atlanta, Georgia in 2009, bringing together 10 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ministry conferences in one place. It was conceived as a gathering in the off years between General Assemblies to celebrate the church’s ministry and mission without the encumbrance of parliamentary procedure and difficult decision making that characterizes the Assembly legislative sessions.
After coming to Indianapolis in 2011, Big Tent came in 2013 to Louisville, where they included a 25th anniversary celebration of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. national offices coming to Louisville.