Updated: Feb 15, 2022
Wow, God called me to be the AUCE chair.
The second thing to say as chair is “Thank you Julie Yarborough. Beginning as chair, the largest anticipated change was reviewing the Articles of Organization. No one anticipated a Pandemic; being just outside New York City – one of the hot zones of the first wave – Julie and her congregation were significantly impacted. She continued leading as we all learned Zoom skills; persevering, she offered continual care; inspiring, she led AUCE’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. Thank you Julie!
Thanks to all previous chairpersons of the AUCE board. You have delivered an awesome organizational legacy; the greater gift is the inspiring leadership you modeled. Your combined good humor, compassion, commitments, discernments, insightfulness, and caring continue to shape AUCE leaders and members. I am humbled to follow you. Thank you.
Thank you to the board members with whom I have served. Your trust in me and your challenges to me have helped me grow as a leader. To the current board, thank you for your enthusiasm and devotion for teaching ministries. I value the wisdom each of you shares; our communal discernment is a work of God’s spirit. Thank you.
Thank you AUCE members. Teaching ministry has always been complex. In the past two years you have been over-extended, drained creatively, and stretched by incorporating new digital tools - grieving distanced personal connections from those whose spirits inspire us to teach. You have continued identifying God’s presence, encouraging deep examination of faith and faith practices, inspiring the continued pursuit of spiritual blessings, and loving through and into virtual spaces where God’s people gather. Thank you.
A gift Julie has given me is a “postage stamp” description of AUCE’s identity: “Networking, Resourcing, and Advocating faith formation practitioners.” I share that gift with you, hoping you use those words often. Together we share this gift from God that is AUCE, that is teaching ministries, that is faith formation practices.
Thanks be to God!
thom bower, AUCE Chair
Greetings, AUCE friends!
I’m thankful for this opportunity to serve you on the AUCE Board of Directors as vice-chair, and I’m especially thankful to serve alongside thom bower, our new AUCE chair. These days, when I’m not dabbing spit-up off of my shirt from my 7-month-old son, talking about pandemic anxiety with my wife, or enjoying a rare moment of silence with a cup of medium roast coffee, I’m working part-time as the Minister of Faith Formation at Kent United Church of Christ in Kent, Ohio.
I am relatively new to the AUCE Board, having previously been elected as the Great Lakes representative, but I already feel welcome and very much a part of this wonderful network of faith formation leaders across the country. It excites me to hear about all the ways these colleagues have been innovative during this pandemic era, and the energy of the team was palpable during our January board meeting (even as we met on Zoom!)
As this year progresses, I cannot wait to get to know my Board colleagues better, to better understand the history of AUCE as we swiftly move into the future, and to get to know more AUCE members across the country. I look forward to our national gathering in June, which I encourage you to attend as it will be an opportunity for rich learning and connection. And I anticipate continued networking, resourcing, and advocating with and for faith formation practitioners coast to coast.
I’m always looking for ways to connect popular culture with faith (anyone else talking generational trauma, perfectionism, and pressure with their congregations based on the new Disney movie, Encanto?!) So I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation:
Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." And I would add that what makes work worth doing is getting to do it with people that you love.
Kim Nagy, AUCE Vice Chair
AUCE Board of Directors 2022