Memphis, TN Regional Conference

Saturday, November 8, 2014Idlewild_Presbyterian_Church_(Memphis,_TN)_1

Idlewild Presbyterian Church

1750 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tennesee 38104




Marriage Matters:
Why It Matters to the Church


OwensKeynote speaker Larry Owens, a teaching elder of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was born in Mississippi where he grew up in the old southern Presbyterian Church (PCUS), and attended college as well as seminary.  As a young associate pastor of a downtown congregation, he helped to imagine and direct the Community Stewpot Services, now a consortium of 17 programs and more than 100 supporting congregations who serve the poor in Jackson, Mississippi. Later, as a bi-vocational pastor, he served three congregations in Georgia while president of an Atlanta-based hotel company. Today, he serves in a validated ministry where he works with individuals and churches to raise millions of dollars each year for elder-care in Georgia.

Describing himself as a recovering fundamentalist, Larry points to a sermon by Dr. Janie Spahr (at the church he then co-pastored with Dr. Stephen Montgomery) as that “come-together” moment when his faith and his identity as a gay man finally embraced. Today, Larry is a much sought-after preacher, stewardship consultant, and workshop leader. He has served on the boards of several non-profits in the metro area and is an active member of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.  He is happily married to his life-long partner who is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).    

Read Larry’s keynote, “Marriage: Why It Matters to the Church.”

LucyStrong (2)Preacher Lucy Catherine Strong, originally from Memphis, is a child of Idlewild. Lucy is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, where she was president of the student body and recipient of the Robert Ramey Jr. Church Leadership Award. She is currently serving as the Presbyterian Campus Minister at UKirk Agnes Scott and the Greater Decatur Area for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. Lucy and her partner, Sarah, live in Decatur, GA where Sarah works for the Decatur Public Library. Lucy and Sarah, who will marry in the upcoming year, currently attend Central Presbyterian in Atlanta, GA.

Read Lucy’s sermon on Psalm 78.



8:00 — 9:00 a.m.         Registration and Light Breakfast

9:00 — 9:15 a.m.           Welcome and Morning Prayer

9:15 — 10:15 a.m.          Keynote Address — Larry Owens

10:15 — 10:30 a.m.       Covenant Network Reflections

10:30 — 11:00 a.m.       Break

11:00 a.m. — noon         Morning Workshops

Noon — 1:00 p.m.          Lunch

1:15 — 2:15 p.m.            Afternoon Workshops

2:15 — 2:30 p.m.            Break

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.             Worship — Lucy Strong, Preaching


Relationship Matters: Navigating the Winds of Change
Join this workshop and listen to testimony of those who have steered the course through GLTB matters.  Listen as a panel explores open-ended questions  about navigating the winds of change in the church and the strange partnership between hope and hurt.

Welcoming Matters:  Is my Church Really Gay-Friendly?
“All are welcome”  — but, are all really welcome?  What identifies a wholeheartedly open place of worship? Can such a place exist in our culture? Come prepared to ask questions and share ideas and experiences.

Historical Matters: Changing Definitions of Marriage in the Bible and the Church — Kendra Hotz
At its outset, Christianity embraced changing definitions of the family. Dr. Hotz, Coordinator of the Urban and Community Health Concentration at Rhodes College and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, will lead an exploration of how western and Christian views of marriage have changed throughout history, from the Roman period to the modern world.

Covenant Network Matters:  Update on Issues in the PC(USA) and Amendment 14-FBrian Ellison and Tricia Dykers Koenig
Join the CovNet staff for a discussion about what’s happening with the PC(USA) and the Covenant Network — as well as a focus on organizing for Amendment 14-F.

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