Inaugural Symposium Celebrates Center for Excellence in Christian Education at UPSem’s Charlotte Campus

Charlotte, NC (November 13, 2023)—Research, practice, and leadership are the three platforms of the newly established Center for Excellence in Christian Education at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Designed to foster new ways of teaching with leading-edge thinking, the CECE will formally open with More Than: The Inaugural Symposium on Nov.30-Dec.1.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, educators, pastors, and lay leaders are invited to join Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito of Caldwell Presbyterian Church at UPSem’s Charlotte campus at noon. After worship and a welcome lunch, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Caldwell will give a keynote address at 2:00 p.m. followed by Q & A. Emerging leader presentations will follow, with the afternoon wrapping up by 5:30 p.m.

With more than 30 years of experience focusing on children, youth, and adolescents, Caldwell is an expert in faith formation. Author of God’s Big Table and Making a Home for Faith, Caldwell specializes in equipping parents, pastors, educators and other adults with practices and framework to help faith grow deeper as children grow older. As a professor, practitioner, and pastoral presence, she brings keen insight to the past, present, and possibilities for the future of educational ministry. Caldwell enjoys engaging religious and cultural diversity, forming children to live in a diverse world.

On Friday, Dec. 1, the CECE symposium continues with a 9:00 a.m. keynote by visionary leader Dr. Patrick Reyes, author of The Purpose Gap. Focusing on helping marginalized people and communities of color thrive, Reyes offers guidance on implementing strategies to help young people live a life of meaning and purpose through congregations, schools, and community organizations. He beckons audience members into pedagogical models that give life, value relationships, and honor ancestors. His work embodies Christian virtues such as compassion, courage, humility, and gratitude while building networks to bridge cultural differences.

In addition to these speakers, presentations by emerging leaders in Christian education from the UPSem community will cover a broad range of topics. According to Rev. Dr. Rebecca L. Davis, Director of the Center for Excellence in Christian Education, “We can meet the challenges of today and the possibilities of tomorrow by cultivating a MORE THAN imagination that constructs new patterns, models, and approaches in Christian Education so that faith formation shapes identity, nurtures meaning-making, and engenders faithful living in today’s world.”

The symposium will conclude on Dec. 1 at 3:00 p.m.

Registration and the complete schedule for the CECE Inaugural Symposium is online at


# # #