NEAUCE 2021 "50 Year Celebration" Recap

NEAUCE 2021 "50 Year Celebration" Recap

“Tear Down, Transform, Transcend, A Call to Action” was the impactful NEAUCE 2021 theme for a two-day virtual experience for over 90 participants from the six New England states and beyond. On Friday, April 30th, we were honored to have keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Gay L. Byron as she  revealed to us hidden treasures of race and ethnicity in the Bible and many racist assumptions that need to be torn away.  Her presentation helped us think more broadly about cultural images in the Biblical texts, including an awareness of inaccurate portrayals of ethnic people in Biblical drawings and paintings.  She also pointed attention to who has been left out of the story, in particular, other empires such as the Aksumite Empire of the ancient Ethiopian people.

On Saturday, May 1, keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos continued the conversation around the work needed to move towards anti-racism and linked it with three important parts of intergenerational formation which is  mutuality (Imago Dei),  reciprocity (give and take), and accommodations (inclusion). 

Rev. Susan Townsley rounded out the event with her “Blue Sky” innovative thinking workshop. This interactive segment involving several breakout spaces really allowed small groups to do creative thinking, collaborate together, and explore outside the box ideas that could be utilized in participant's own church settings. 

The event was sprinkled with fabulous 50th Year 3 minute slideshows (created by Debbie Gline Allen)  of past times at Craigville Conference Center on the Cape or at Pilgrim Pines in NH. Three “blast from the past” comedy skits were also a 50th Celebration treat with the famous Skip & Dip friends (Rev Sue Remick and Rev. Ruth Martz) returning to make us laugh with their amazing humor and wit. 

The event wouldn’t be complete with out creativity and artistry with special guest including,  Potter - Rev. Amy Bruch (supporting the theme scripture from Jeremiah, the Potter and the clay), Storyteller - Valerie Tutson ( retelling the story of Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun) and Mural Banner Artists - Amy Middleton and Kristin Putney (who created a mural banner of images of NEAUCE transforming over 50 years. This mural banner will travel from state to state all year long until NEAUCE 2022 in NH. Request to be a Host Church when the Mural Banner is in your region. Contact Kristin Putney ). 

Participants engaged in three interactive worships lead by Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos, including a Friday evening communion Taize segment.  Each worship had a themed altar: 1) Tear Down, 2) Transform 3) Transcend.  Participants received special theme gifts ( seed heart paper and a ceramic word pendant made by Rev. Amy Bruch) prior to the event to utilize in the worships.  Wonderful, creative music segments were entwined throughout the event designed and performed by Daniel Brownell with guests performers, Debi Mastroni Kenyon and Amy Brownell.  

The NEAUCE event also high lighted a special award recipient during the Saturday business meeting.  Karen Ziel was recognized for her many achievements in faith formation and was the recipient of the AUCE Founders Award in February at the AUCE 50th virtual event.  We are so proud of her and congratulate her on this achievement. 

Although folks missed one another when NEAUCE 2020 was cancelled because of pandemic restrictions, the smiles, warmth and laughter were abundantly visible on all  faces when everyone finally gathered together this year.  Many stayed for the hospitality breakout rooms each day and got to catch up or meet someone new.  Thank you to the Coordinating Committee 2021, it was a memorable first time virtual NEAUCE event! ( Coordinating Committee 2021: Rev. Jessica Moore, Deb Kirk, Stacy Inman, Rev. Chontell Washington, Jennifer Cummings, Kristin Forselius, Dawne Quinn, Rose Stansfield, Amy Middleton, Kristin Putney) Recordings of some portions of the event can be found on the AUCE website.  See you next year!
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