Beth Hayes, director of Congregational Ministries and Resources for the Moravian Church Southern Province, has been named 2016’s Educator of the Year by the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE).
The Greensboro, N.C., native, who was nurtured there in the faith at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant and later at Highland Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem—where she met her husband—became Moravian in 1982 when she joined the Clemmons Moravian Church.
Hayes received the award at a luncheon during APCE’s annual event, January 27–30.
A certified educator in the Moravian Church and the PC(USA), Hayes graduated with a Master of Arts in Christian Education from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, now Union Presbyterian Seminary, in 1979.
Hayes has been an advocate for educators serving on the APCE cabinet as a regional representative from the Mid-Atlantic region for several terms, and also served as secretary of the organization. She was instrumental in encouraging the Moravian Church to become full members of APCE.
“One of Beth's lasting contributions to educational ministries is her dedicated involvement with the Presbyterian Reformed Educational Partnership (PREP), supporting their mission to develop free educational resources, most notably Opening Doors to Discipleship,” said Candace C Hill, former coordinator of educational ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Opening Doors to Discipleship is an online, cost-free teacher training course now available in three languages.
In accepting the award, Hayes said modestly, “What you don’t know is that I’m not an upfront person; I do better in smaller groups.” She then, in storytelling style, shared her spiritual autobiography, “The Places Beth’s Faith Journey Has Been.”
Telling her family’s story and showing such artifacts as her baptismal certificate, she recalled that her first Bible came from her sister. “I still have it and carry it a lot,” she said. “One of the most fun things that I do in the resource center is give Bible recommendations. Sharing faith stories is going to continue to be important in Christian education.”
Acknowledging that the Moravian Church has a wealth of traditions, Hayes echoed what the event’s previous speakers had said about changing not the message, but rather the delivery method. “I’m not advocating that you throw out all the traditions—we’re all aware that the church is challenged to make some of those changes—but we’ve got to find new ways in technology to make these things come alive and meet people where they are,” she said.
Earlier during the luncheon, the organization’s Life Achievement Award was presented to Lloyd Peitzman.
Peitzman, who worked in radio and television news and fundraising before being called to the ministry of education, served as the first elected president of APCE. As a media specialist and a longtime director of Christian Education at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, he was the first to make use of video in church education.
Expressing his gratitude to APCE for its support and resources, and giving thanks to God for his having been “allowed to live between the intersection of faith and action,” Peitzman closed his remarks with a quote from Dag Hammarskjöld.
“For all that has been—thanks; for all that will be—yes,” he told the gathering.
The awards luncheon closed with a necrology, remembering the church educators who had died in the past year, and with the singing of the organization’s theme song, “One Generation Will Call to the Next.”