2016: Becoming Like Little Children: The Gospel Gift of Vulnerability

2015 feet

Looking for resources from the Gathering?

All available podcasts and documents are posted below with their descriptions . You can also discuss the Gathering and see pics from our time together on the Facebook page. General documents, including the full schedule, campus map and other info. are available here.


Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:3-5).

This year we wanted to continue last year’s theme of the formation of young people by exploring the formation of children and the aging. Yet as we considered such persons in light of Jesus, we realized that they share in common a certain degree of vulnerability. Jesus teaches us that such vulnerability is not a liability, but a gift. So this summer we will focus on the formation of the church as a people that welcomes children, persons with disabilities, and others as gift. Together we will discuss what children teach us about ourselves, what Scripture say about vulnerability, and how we might welcome the vulnerable, embrace our vulnerability, and embody the good news as truly intergenerational congregations.


The 2016 Gathering took place at the Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center in Techny, IL from July 7-9. The schedule:

  • Thursday: lunch, worship, plenary, pizza dinner, and honoring the work of Michael Budde
  • Friday: breakfast, intergenerational worship, plenary, workshops, lunch, plenary, workshops, banquet and foot-washing service
  • Saturday: breakfast, intergenerational worship, plenary, worship, depart at noon

Plenary Sessions

“Formation Happens: The Formation and Deformation of Adults and their Children in American and Ecclesial Cultures” with Joel Shuman

“Exploring Scripture as a Community of the Vulnerable” with Jeremy Funk and Steve Fowl

“Welcoming the Gift of Vulnerability: Creating Places of Belonging for All of Us” with Julie Dotterweich Gunby, Stacy Cates-Carney of L’Arche Tahoma-Hope, and members of L’Arche Chicago

“Missional Vulnerability: Embodying Good News in Our Local Congregations” with Grace Fellowship, Cornerstone United Methodist, and Mark Lau Branson



  • “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” with Jana Bennett of Immaculate Conception Parish
  • “Story, Art and Wonder: Godly Play and the Formation of Children” with Victor Hinojosa of Dayspring Baptist Church
  • “Intergenerational Ministry” with Roy Terry and Dominique Nash from Cornerstone United Methodist
  • “Practices of Formation into L’Arche Communities” with Julie Dotterweich Gunby, Stacy Cates-Carney of L’Arche Tahoma-Hope, and members of L’Arche Chicago
  • “Learning from the Least of These: Glimpsing the Kingdom while Facing the Loss of a Child” with Ryan and Darcie Apple of Delta Community Christian Church”
  • “Valuing the Vulnerable: Life Together with the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities” with Reba Place Fellowship
  • “Mentoring Relationships: Embracing Vulnerability in the Workshop for Witnesses” with Michael Cartwright and Joseph Krall
  • “Developing Children’s Curriculum as a Congregation” with Grace Fellowship Community Church and Redeemer Community Church


    • Opening worship preacher: Cindi Fong of Redeemer Community Church

  • Closing worship preacher: Nina Lau-Branson of The Table, a Free Methodist Church
  • Foot-washing service preacher: Victor Hinojosa of Dayspring Baptist Church
  • Liturgical worship leaders: Chi-Ming Chien & Gaylene Wong of Redeemer Community Church
  • Intergenerational worship leaders: Jana Bennett of Immaculate Conception Parish and Victor Hinojosa of Dayspring Baptist Church

Honoring Michael Budde

  • Organized by Stephen Long
  • Other speakers include Bill Cavanaugh, Garry Wills, Kelly Johnson, Stanley Hauerwas.

Special Needs

  • The Ekklesia Project is committed to offering aid to person with financial needs. If this pertains to you, please contact the gathering planner, John Nugent, at epgathering@gmail.com. We also encourage those with greater financial resources to donate additional funds to help make this possible.
  • The Ekklesia Project does not offer childcare. Parents are welcome to bring their children and will be given the opportunity to meet other parents and perhaps coordinate with one another. Several parts of the program are child friendly, as are the facilities at Techny Towers.
  • The Ekklesia Project is able to accommodate certain dietary and handicap accessibility needs. You will be given the opportunity to communicate these needs while completing the registration form.

Transportation & Off-Site Lodging