Plans proceed for second Big Tent event

2011 gathering set for June 30-July 2 in Indianapolis

November 5, 2010


The second Big Tent event will follow much the same format as 2009’s inaugural gathering, but will include some new conferences.

At the first Big Tent, held in Atlanta in June 2009, 10 conferences of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) met concurrently, allowing participants to attend workshops and meet people from different areas of the denomination.

The 2011 event, held June 30-July 2 in Indianapolis, will do the same.

“You won’t get a chance to see as many parts of the church in one place as you will at Big Tent,” said Kerry Rice, manager of the General Assembly meeting service. Rice was speaking to the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, meeting here Oct. 27-29.

Two groups that had conferences at the 2009 event — Presbyterian Health Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) and Stewardship and Investment — will not participate in the second Big Tent, Rice said.

However, three new groups will be at the 2011 event:

Groups from 2009 that will also be at the 2011 event:

  • Healthy Ministries Conference
  • Presbyterian Communicators Network Conference
  • National Multicultural Church Conference
  • Evangelism and Church Growth
  • National Elders Conference
  • Peacemaking Conference
  • Racial Ethnic and Immigrants Convocation

Pathways, a theological and practical training program for youth leaders and youth grades 9-12, will also be meeting in Indianapolis at the same time as Big Tent, enabling participants of both conferences to worship together.

Two of three Big Tent preachers have been determined: The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the Office of Public Witness in Washington, and the Rev. Serene Jones, president and professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Organizers are anticipating 1,600-1,700 participants at the 2011 Big Tent. They hope to have an event webpage by the end of the year and to open registration by February. Registration is $285, the same as the 2009 fee.

  1. The Big Tent webpage is up and running at: A full schedule is available for download here:

    by Bethany Furkin

    April 14, 2011

  2. How do we get specifics about the particular tracks being offered at the Big Tent (schedule and speakers for the elders conference, evangelism, multicultural ministry etc.)?

    by Rev. Debra Given

    April 14, 2011

  3. I attended most of the inspiring BTE in Atlanta in 2009 and now have been put back on our session as chair of the Adult Christian Education Committee. We have a fund from which we can request scholar-ships for the BTE in Indy. Can you give me any idea of whether we should count on spending three nights, of how many (if any) meals are included,and of how much hotel tax will be added? Thanks!

    by Jane Lupton

    January 21, 2011

  4. Our Church is slowly dying and if we don't begin to do Church in a different waq we will be dead in 10-15 years. Our Pastor of 25 years is simply hanging on to retirement so we don't have much leadership. Will this Conference help to light a fire with officers so that we can begiin to look at doing Church in a different way? A huge sticking point is music in our worship service...traditional vs contemporary

    by Candy Reid

    January 15, 2011

  5. When will the website for the "big tent" be up and running?

    by Rev. Skip Johnson

    January 10, 2011

  6. Will any vendors or displays by special organizations or para-church organizations be permitted?

    by Marie Bowen

    November 12, 2010

  7. Will it be inter-generational?

    by Gretchen Williver

    November 5, 2010