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:
- World Mission will host its Mission Celebration, last held in Cincinnati in 2009;
- The Clergy Women’s Leadership Institute, hosted by Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women; and
- The National Black Presbyterian Caucus, which will be part of the Racial Ethnic and Immigrants Convocation
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.