Registration for this conference is now closed.

Handouts and recordings from the workshop sessions can be found on this page.

We are excited to offer a special conference that seeks to address the needs of outdoor ministry leaders from across the United States and Canada. We look forward to seeing everyone at the “Abiding Presence” Conference at Heartland Center (near Kansas City, MO) on November 13-18. Please check out the details below related to this event.

Sponsoring Organizations

Endorsing Organizations


In response to the Good News of Jesus Christ, Heartland Presbyterian Center provides hospitality and programming in a natural setting for individuals, families, churches, and the community. Heartland is located in the Northwest part of Kansas City just 20 minutes from KCI airport and downtown Kansas City.

Learn more about our host site


Abiding Presence

Gather with us to explore what it looks like to welcome people into God’s Abiding Presence through camp and conference ministry. No matter the shifts we continue to make in our ministries, what hasn't changed is our call and mission. Join us as we delve into how we can be conduits of this Abiding Presence of welcome, transformation, and service by doing what we do best - teaching and learning from one another as we discern what Matthew 25:31-46 is saying to us today.

Our Keynote Presenters/WORSHIP LEADERS


Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks serves as the Director of Formation for Children, Youth and Their Families at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC. She loves creating space for folks to interact with the Holy through art and opportunities for disruption. Amy Kim is a Co-Director of the Board of More Light Presbyterians, leads workshops and conferences nationally for the PCUSA, and has been published in ministry periodicals about Spiritual Formation and disrupting Racism. Her life is shared with her amazing spouse, Justin, children, Natalily and Isaiah along with Bella and Obed, the poodles. She is thankful for the ministry of camps and conferences in her own formation and looks forward to sharing space at the conference!

Keynote Presentation - Tuesday
Keynote Presentation - Wednesday
Keynote Presentation - Thursday



Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has been in ministry for over 20 years. She has been a camper, counselor, volunteer chaplain and board member at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center (where you can hang out on the Anne Russ deck) and currently serves on the board at Johnsonburg Camp and Conference Center.  Anne is a free-range pastor living in New York and runs a digital ministry platform at She teaches online classes, creates liturgy and worship experiences, leads workshops, and fills pulpits when needed. She is a fiercely supportive mom to a 21-year-old BFA musical theater student and has been married for almost 25 years (to the same person). 

Worship - Monday
Worship - Wednesday



Dale Bolyard serves as full-time Director of Music Ministries at Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Missouri. In his nineteen years at Pine Ridge, he has directed ensembles of all ages. In his high school and college years, he spent his summers serving on the summer staff of multiple Kiwanis and church camps in the St. Louis area. At Heartland Center, he has been a facilitator on the high and low ropes courses, volunteered as a counselor for multiple Heartland amazing races camps, and can be seen leading camp songs for all of Pine Ridge’s summer camp festivities. 

Our Featured Workshop Presenters


Dr. Jim Cain is a teambuilding guru and the author of 24 well-loved texts on team and community building activities from around the world, including five new books he wrote during the pandemic. His real-world, in-person, train-the-trainer programs are legendary in the adventure-based learning community and his virtual presentations are popular around the world. Jim’s forte is building unity, community and connection, three things that are definitely in great need after the recent pandemic. He is a frequent presenter at American Camp Association conferences and was part of the leadership at the OMC Great Gathering at Lake Junaluska in 2019. In the past 10 years, Jim has presented more than 1500 programs in 49 states and 28 countries.

Jim will offer a two-hour "Idea Grab Bag for Recreation Leaders" during conference check-in on Monday (see schedule for timing). He will also lead four workshop sessions during the conference: "Teambuilding for Free," "Extraordinary Facilitation – Techniques for Becoming a Better Facilitator," "The Top Ten Teambuilding Activities," and "The Dutchman’s Rope: Physical Distancing and Other Best Practices for Real-World In-Person Gatherings."


Laura Mariko Cheifetz serves as the Assistant Dean of Admissions, Vocation, and Stewardship at Vanderbilt Divinity School, after having worked in reproductive justice, religious publishing, and theological education. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Laura is multiracial Asian American of Japanese and white Jewish descent. She is a contributing editor to Inheritance, an independent project and a platform for Asian and Pacific Islander stories, experiences, and reflections that affirm API identity and contribute to a more inclusive and multi-faceted understanding of Christian faith. She is the co-editor of "Race in America: Christians Respond to the Crisis" and co-author and editor of "Church on Purpose: Reinventing Discipleship, Community, and Justice."

Laura will be leading the workshop, "Racial Identity Development for Youth Workers Who Are Afraid of Making Mistakes," which is sponsored by the Insurance Board.


Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund currently serves as Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice on the national staff of the United Church of Christ and as senior pastor of First Congregational UCC of Indianapolis, IN. She is an ordained minister in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the UCC. Sarah served as Regional Minister in the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ and as a Vice President for Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN. She received the Dell Award for Mental Health Education at the 30th General Synod of the UCC. Sarah is the author of Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family, and Church and Blessed Union: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness and Marriage.


Alex Patchin McNeill is the former Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians. He has equipped congregations to live into policy change for inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people and has successfully enacted policies for marriage equality in the Presbyterian Church, USA. As a trained professional coach through the International Coaching Federation, Alex brings a coaching approach to his work with church leaders and congregations seeking to follow God’s call to widen their welcome, increase church vitality, or develop and implement new programs. He has trained hundreds of community leaders, and has played key roles organizing faith communities for marriage equality and legislation to promote LGBTQIA+ rights. Alex was the first openly transgender man ordained in the Presbyterian Church, USA.

Alex will be leading a workshop titled, "Shaping a Space Where LGBTQIA+ Youth Can Thrive."


Evan Moilan is a consultant with GSB Fundraising. He has 24 years of experience with executive leadership and board service for non-profits across the United States. Evan is known of his expertise in fundraising, strategic planning, board development, governance, marketing, and branding. Prior to joining GSB Fundraising, he served as Chief Mission Officer for Upbring. a multi-state Christian social service agency in Texas. Additionally, Evan has served in Executive leadership and development roles with a diverse array of non-profits from Christian camp and retreat centers to international global relief agencies. He currently holds a Certified Fundraising Executive credential and serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Evan will be leading two workshops. One is titled, "COVID as a Chrysalis Stage for Outdoor Ministry: Emerging as a Butterfly." The other is titled, "Re-Shaping Our Fundraising."


Do you want to learn about the 44 workshops that will be offered during the Annual Conference? Click on the link below for full descriptions and leadership bios for each session.

Click here for more information

Conference Schedule

1:00-6:00pm     Hospitality in the Assembly Inn Lobby
1:00     Airport Shuttles Begin
3:00     Check into Rooms
6:00-7:00     Dinner
7:00-7:45     Conference Orientation/Social Time
8:00-8:45     Welcome and Opening Worship
8:45     Hospitality and Snacks

7:00am     Morning Watch
7:30-8:30     Breakfast
9:00-10:30     Keynote Presentation
10:45-12:00pm     Workshop Session #1
12:00-1:00     Lunch
1:15-2:30     Workshop Session #2
2:45-4:00     Workshop Session #3
4:00-5:00     Free Time
5:00-5:30     Swag Swap
5:30-6:30     Dinner
6:45-8:00     Association Meeting #1
8:15-9:00     Evening Activity (by association)

7:00am     Morning Watch
7:30-8:30     Breakfast
9:00-10:30     Keynote Presentation
10:45-12:00pm     Exhibit Hall
12:00-1:00     Lunch
1:15     Exhibit Hall Continues
1:30-2:45     Workshop Session #4
3:30     5K Run/Walk
5:00     Exhibit Hall Ends
5:30-6:30     Dinner
6:45-7:30     Worship
7:45-9:00     Storytelling and Snacks

7:00am     Morning Watch
7:30-8:30     Breakfast
9:00-10:30     Keynote Presentation
10:45-12:00pm     Workshop Session #5
12:00-1:00     Lunch
1:15-2:45     Association Meeting #2
3:00-4:15     Workshop Session #6
4:30-6:45     Auction and Dinner
7:00-7:45     Closing Worship
7:45     Hospitality and Snacks

5:00am     Airport Shuttles Begin
7:00-8:00     Breakfast

1:00-6:00pmConference Check-inAssembly Inn Lobby
1:00Airport Shuttles BeginAsheville Regional Airport
3:00Snack Reception (sponsored by GSB Fundraising)Assembly Inn Lobby
3:00Check-in Time for RoomsAssembly Inn
3:30-5:30Idea Grab Bag for Recreation Leaders with Jim CainWayout 1
6:00-7:00DinnerGalax Dining Room
7:00-7:45Conference OrientationConvocation Hall
7:00-7:45Social TimeAssembly Inn Lobby
8:00-8:45Welcome and Opening WorshipUpper Anderson Auditorium
8:45Evening Snacks (sponsored by the Presbyterian Mission Agency - Office of Christian Formation)Assembly Inn Lobby
1:00-6:00pmShuttles and Check-in

Sunday Afternoon Snack Reception sponsored by Reflective Energy Solutions 

Nunemaker Lobby
6:00-6:45DinnerGrace Hall
7:00-7:45Conference OrientationUpper Genesis
7:00-7:45Social TimeLobby
7:45-8:30Welcome Gathering and WorshipGreat Room
8:30Wine and Cheese Reception sponsored by Louisville Presbyterian Theological SeminaryFireside Room and Nunemaker Lobby


Our exhibit hall is completely sold out, but perhaps your company or organization would like to be represented at the “Shaping Our Story” Conference without even traveling to North Carolina. A very limited number of sponsorship opportunities are still available. We hope you will consider the possibilities by clicking the link below.


We have a variety of lodging options for your five-night stay during the conference. All of the accommodations are located within an easy walk to meals, workshops, and plenary sessions. For families that will be attending the event, we suggest Oak Place.


The Nunemaker & Cray Lodge
Hotel-style lodging with private bathrooms, centrally located and connected to Nunemaker Conference Center by a covered walkway.

Please note: This lodging option is sold-out. If you are seeking double occupancy with a roommate or spouse, there are still rooms available in the other lodging options.

Double Occupancy (private bath, 2 full beds, linens/towels, wifi)     $250 per person
Triple Occupancy (private bath, 3 single beds, linens/towels, wifi)     $165 per person  


Pete's Cabin
Cabin-style lodging, tucked in the woods. Each bedroom has bunk-style beds (twin over full) a bathroom with separate rooms for toilet, shower, and lavatory.

Cabin-style accommodations with a private bath for each room.  double occupancy:     $220 per person
Cabin-style accommodations with a private bath for each room.  3-4 people per room:     $145 per person


Oak Place
This building has four bedrooms and private bathrooms with separate rooms for toilet, shower, and lavatory. The bedrooms all open into a large meeting room with a full kitchen.

Double Occupancy (cabin-style accommodations with private bath for each room.)     $220 per person.
Triple Occupancy (cabin-style accommodations with private bath for each room.)    $145 per person.
Family - Cabin-style accommodations with a private bath for each room.  As many as 8 people per room:     $500 per family


Trask Lodge
The building has three bedrooms, three full bathrooms (off of the hallway), a kitchen, two meeting areas, and a large front porch.

Double Occupancy (dorm-style accommodations with hall bathrooms.)     $160 per person.


House of Faith
This building has 9 bedrooms, three bathrooms (off the hallway), and a full kitchen.

Single Occupancy (dorm-style accommodations with hall bathrooms.)     $320 per person.
Double Occupancy (dorm-style accommodations with hall bathrooms.)     $160 per person.


Creekside Hotel
The limited number of hotel-style rooms at Heartland Center do not allow us to offer single-occupancy lodging on site. A new hotel has just opened only one mile away from Heartland. We will offer shuttle service to those participants who chose to stay there. You can book a hotel room here for $92.00 a night ($114.68 with all of the taxes). You can learn more about the hotel (and reserve your room) by going to their website. If the website does not quote you this lower rate, call them and make sure they understand that you are part of the PCCCA Annual Conference. 

The conference meals are Sunday Dinner through Friday Breakfast (but not dinner on Wednesday due to the free afternoon). Heartland guests are treated to hearty main dishes, attractive salads, and yummy desserts. All meals are served buffet style in the beautiful Grace Hall. Each dish incorporates nutritious options for guests including those with most special dietary needs. 

Adult                                      $164.00
Children (Age 4-10)               $94.00
Children (Age 3 and under)   Free


PCCCA will be providing a shuttle service from the Kansas City International Airport (MCI). The conference is about 15 minutes from the airport and there will a be a $20 per person, round trip fee for airport transportation. We will start running shuttles at 1:00pm on Sunday, November 13th and our last one will leave the airport at 5:00pm that day. We will be running shuttles to the airport on Friday, November 18th from 6:00am – 12:00pm.

Fee for Round-Trip Shuttle: $20.00 per person

Registration INFO

We encourage everyone with a role related to outdoor ministry to attend this amazing event.  All staff (executive, program, office, facilities, hospitality, kitchen), board members, and volunteers will all benefit from outstanding workshops, worship, and professional connections.  The registration fees for the conference can be found below.
ParticipantNon-Participating SpouseChildren & Youth
Registration Fee$199$115$199

Children and Youth Program

While attending workshops and keynotes, your kids will have a great time in the Children and Youth Program.  Your child's days will be jam-packed full of games, crafts, story-time, snack-time, outdoor adventures, and a different special activity each day.  Programs are designed for the following age groups: preschool, younger elementary, older elementary, and youth.  Some of the daily special activities we are planning are horse rides, a trip to "The Summit" high ropes course (10 and older), archery, disc golf, nature hikes, treasure hunts, and a field trip to Moon Marble factory in nearby Bonner Springs, Kansas.  When you see how much fun your kids have, you may lie about your own age. 

The Children and Youth Program runs for the duration of the conference and is priced at $100 per participant. In order to give Heartland Center enough time to recruit the appropriate number of staff, we ask that you register children and youth by Friday, October 14.

Cancellation Policy

Prior to October 14, all but $100.00 will be refunded to you. After this date, the entire fee is nonrefundable.


If you need financial assistance in order to attend the conference, please contact
Joel Winchip for PCCCA and the Campfire Collective
Joe Richards for OMI-UCC
Bill Bourdon for OMA-UCC


Conference registration is not yet available, but will go live in August. If you should have any questions about the event, please contact Joel Winchip at


Registration for this conference is now closed.



Gathering As One

A Virtual Outdoor Ministry Conference

November 17th-19th, 2020

Login for Conference Content
We hope you will be a part of the virtual conference that brought together camp and retreat leaders from all over the United States and Canada. The event is endorsed by the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association, the Outdoor Ministries Association of the United Church of Christ, the Association of Disciples in Outdoor Ministry, the Outdoor Ministries Association of the Church of the Brethren, and the Outdoor Ministries Institute of the United Church of Canada.