Inspire Offers Discounts and Worry-Free Registration
If you are interested in attending a North America-wide, denominational event in Chicago this summer, don’t let COVID travel worries prevent you from registering. That’s the news that Inspire 2022 organizers want members of the Christian Reformed Church in North America to hear.
“We know that after two years of living through a pandemic, many of us are uncomfortable planning far ahead for things like travel,” said Colin Watson, executive director of the CRCNA. “We don’t want that to prevent someone from attending Inspire.”
To mitigate this worry, Inspire organizers have put together a generous refund policy. Anyone who registers will have until June 30, 2022, to cancel their registration for any reason, and they will receive a full refund. After June 30, those who need to cancel will be offered the opportunity to transfer their registration free of charge to another person in their congregation.
“We need to submit a head count to the venue on July 1 to ensure that we plan for enough meals throughout the event,” explained Watson about the June 30 deadline. “At the same time, we know that people may get sick or have a last-minute reason for needing to cancel. In that case, we want their investment to be easily shared with another member of their congregation. In that way, the benefits of Inspire can still get to the local church.”
To be held Aug. 4-6 at the Tinley Park Convention Center near Chicago, Inspire 2022 will feature keynote addresses from Ken Shigematsu, Steve Argue, Bishop Zac Niringiye, and Sandra Van Opstal. The three-day conference will conclude with an inspiring concert from singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken. In addition, there are nearly 100 workshops planned on topics related to every aspect of congregational life, along with an expo filled with thousands of resources designed to help people better serve their congregations and communities. Previous Inspire events took place in Detroit (Mich.) in 2017 and Windsor (Ont.) in 2019.
In addition to the refund policy, Inspire is offering several ways to make the conference affordable.
The registration fee includes access to the keynote addresses, concert, and workshops as well as lunches, dinners, and snacks. Those who register by March 31 can receive the early-bird rate of $95 USD per person. Canadian registrants will automatically receive a 20 percent discount to help offset the currency exchange rate.
What’s more, organizers are encouraging congregations to send a delegation of people so that there is a team of Inspire attendees who can return to a church and share their inspiration with others. Groups of 5-15 from the same church can receive a group discount of an additional $15 off per person.
Jane DeGroot from Grand Haven, Mich., attended Inspire in both 2017 and 2019. She is looking forward to attending again in 2022.
“Being with such a wide range of CRC members in Detroit in 2017 was a delightful experience for me,” she said. “It was a little bit like being at a church picnic and loving all the choices of activities, including great food and fun and fellowship.”
DeGroot said that some of the highlights for her were being able to worship together and share in conversations with other CRC members about the various presenters. She also enjoyed the resource expo.
“I was also pleased to meet the various program directors of the CRCNA and attend workshops with them,” she said. “It was all a very memorable experience.”
Attending Inspire 2019 in Windsor was equally enriching, she said – and having attended before gave her a better idea of what to expect.
“The Inspire 2019 workshops were even more helpful—some were more practical, others more theological, but all very worthwhile,” said DeGroot.
“One I especially appreciated was a teaser for restorative practices. It whetted my appetite to attend a two-day training session later that fall in restorative practices at a church in Grand Rapids (Mich.). That has been a game changer because I work as the coordinator for Safe Church in Classis Muskegon. There is a preconference workshop on restorative practices at Inspire 2022 for those looking for the same training.”
DeGroot added that her Inspire experience wasn’t solely about the planned events. While she was in Detroit in 2017, she said, she and a friend found time to visit the Detroit Institute of Art. And in Windsor she and church colleagues enjoyed several walks along the riverfront. It was refreshing and rejuvenating, she said, for ministry leaders used to giving so much to their congregations.
“After years of pivoting and having to redefine what church looks and feels like during a time of pandemic, it is so exciting to be able to offer Inspire again to people in the CRC,” said Watson. “If there was ever a time when we needed inspiration and encouragement, it is now. Inspire 2022 won’t disappoint. I hope that we will see people from every CRC classis there.”
Those attending Inspire will be required to abide by COVID-19 travel protocols as well as applicable health guidelines in Cook County at the time of the event.
For more information about Inspire or to register, visit crcna.org/Inspire