Not Too Late to Be Inspired!
When Jill Feikema heard that Inspire 2022 would be happening in Tinley Park, Ill., this coming August, it didn’t take her long to decide to attend. What’s more, taking advantage of the early-bird and group discounts available, she helped coordinate a group of 14 additional members of her congregation to join her at the Aug. 4-6 event. These discounts have now been extended through Apr. 30.
Feikema had previously attended Inspire 2017 in Detroit, Mich. and Inspire 2019 in Windsor, Ont. Inspire 2022 will take place in Tinley Park, Ill., about 20 minutes from New Hope CRC, where Feikema attends. It made sense to try to organize a group, she said. But ease of travel is not the only reason that members of New Hope are excited about attending Inspire.
“My experience at Inspire 2019 was extremely edifying — it spurred me on to think differently about my own involvement in my church and dramatically shifted my perspectives on what I need to do and be to shape the direction of my own participation at church,” Feikema said.
She added that New Hope CRC is a small, transitional, suburban church that is currently without a pastor. “Having over 15 attend is a pretty big deal for us, and I think Inspire will be very refreshing for all of us,” she said. “We are an exhausted group. COVID took a big bite out of us. We are in much need of a lift.”
Feikema came home from previous Inspire events with content that deepened her personal faith but was also relevant to share with those in her congregation. In fact, she said, she wished that more CRC members would take advantage of this opportunity.
“My only disappointment from Inspire 2019 was that marketing and recruitment clearly missed people – the audience seemed extremely homogeneous,” she said. “We need to do better at removing barriers and recruiting an audience that represents all the ethnicities, genders, and ages of our denomination. We need to feed and encourage all facets of our congregations.”
Organizers for Inspire 2022 are hoping to do just that. There will be four plenary speakers covering a range of topics from faith practices and intergenerational ministry to seeking unity with our global neighbors and living out our faith in the world.
There are also more than 80 workshops offering best practices, resources, and practical advice on topics such as prayer, church renewal, disability awareness, abuse prevention, addressing racism, sharing our faith, ecumenical relationships, community outreach, caring for pastors, youth ministry, dealing with conflict, and worship.
Some of these workshops are being offered in Korean as well as English to make them more accessible to Korean members. Plenary talks will also offer simultaneous translation in Korean and Spanish for participants who request it.
Worship will be a highlight of Inspire 2022 with a special concert being offered by Sandra McCracken, as well as daily times of worship with all Inspire attendees, special guests from South Africa, and an Inspire choir.
“After years of pivoting and having to redefine what church looks and feels like during a time of pandemic, it is so exciting to be able to offer Inspire again to people in the CRC,” said Colin P. Watson, Sr., executive director of the CRCNA. “If there was ever a time when we needed inspiration and encouragement, it is now. Inspire 2022 won’t disappoint. I hope that we will see people from every CRC classis there.”
To help keep costs down, Inspire 2022 organizers are offering an early-bird rate of $95 USD per person (an automatic 20% discount will be applied to all Canadian registrations to help with currency exchange). This rate has been extended through Apr. 30.