2016 Annual Conference
February 23-25, 2016
Canterbury Retreat Center
Oviedo, Florida

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Deanna Thompson, Professor at Hamline University
The annual conference for the Academy of Parish Clergy was held at Canterbury Retreat and Conference center in Oviedo, Florida, a suburb of Orlando on Feb. 23-25, 2016. The main speaker was Dr. Deanna Thompson, Professor at Hamline University in the Twin Cities. Deanna is a Lutheran scholar who spoke about the effects of Deuteronomy on Jesus and for preaching today. She also talked about feminism in light of the works of Martin Luther. Because she is a cancer survivor in remission, she also shared her perspective on how the church serves or doesn’t serve the needs of congregants with serious illnesses. Her own congregation is extremely supportive, but she also found great support through social media. This was especially true of her use of CaringBridge.org site.

Dr. William Tuck, a former professor of Homiletics at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville also made presentations about preaching with passion. The Parish Pastor of the Year was presented to The Rev. Dr. David Lee, pastor of Highlands United Presbyterian in Jacksonville, Florida and he preached to the conference. One of the featured workshops was “Dealing with Personality Disorders in the Church” and this was well done and well received. Of course the fellowship and collegiality was greatly appreciated.

The Book of the Year was Bearing the Unbearable: Trauma, Gospel, and Pastoral Care by Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, published by Eerdmans, and she spoke extensively to the conference. The reference book of the year was The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge, also by Eerdmans, and she also spoke in receiving the award. The top ten books of the year were also mentioned. How Odd of God by Will Willimon, Westminster John Knox; For the Love of All Creatures: the story of Grace in Genesis, by William Greenway, Eerdmans; This Strange and Sacred Scripture: Wrestling with the Old Testament and its Oddities, by Matthew Richard Schlimm, Baker Academic; Paul and the Gift by John Barclay, by Eerdmans; A Long Letting Go: Meditations on losing someone you love and A Faithful Farewell: Living your last chapter with love both by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Eerdmans; Envisioning the Congregation. Practicing the Gospel by John W. Stewart, Eerdmans; Wearing God, by Lauren Winner, Harper One; Crossover Preaching: Intercultural-Improvisational Homiletics in Conversation with Gardner C. Taylor, by Jared E. Alcantara; Grounded by Diana Butler Bass, Harper One; Called to Witness: Doing Missional Theology, by Darrell L. Guder, Eerdmans.

Next year’s conference will be in Detroit, with theologian Grace Ji-Sun Kim as keynote speaker. The theme is Embracing the Other: Breaking Down Barriers in the Spirit. Grace is a professor of theology at Earlham School of Religion and author of a number of books including Embracing the Other, (Eerdmans 2015). So, be sure to save the date: April 25-27, 2017.

Submitted by Dr. David E. Imhoff, APC, Florida Chapter APC Chair