Where the Digital Meets the Divine:

Expanding our Spiritual Bandwidth

Event Program





Power Point Presentations: Session One | Session Two | Session Three

For sometime now, we at St. Andrew have been describing our current moment as “Where the Digital Meets the Divine.” In response to restrictions on physical gatherings, churches everywhere have been exploring new ways to use technology to extend their reach as the body of Christ.

The phrase itself comes from DeEtte Decker (https://deettedecker.com)Storyteller + Social Media Strategist for the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination. Through videos (like the one below), Facebook groups, and zoom webinars, DeEtte has been encouraging and training mainline churches in how to use new technologies as ministry tools and service opportunities.

We have been so impressed with DeEtte’s work that St. Andrew joined forces with the Presbytery of East Iowa to invite her to Iowa City to share in-person more of her practical thoughts and theological insights.

On Saturday Oct. 23 and Sunday Oct. 24, St. Andrew and the Presbytery of East Iowa hosted a Workshop + Retreat in which we explored the intersection between the Digital + the Divine that has opened in our COVID + Post-COVID world.

Throughout the morning sessions, DeEtte led us through conversations on the complexities of our current moment. During her discussions, she was joined by the Rev. Dr. Jan Schnell, a professor of liturgics at Wartburg Theological Seminary, and other voices. After lunch is provided, she will focus on a broader discussion of how technology can be both freeingly fun and frustratingly finicky.

The conversation then continued on Sunday morning, when DeEtte spoke in St. Andrew's 8:30 and 11 a.m. worship services. In between, she made herself available for more informal discussions about the role of the church both in-person and online.


Retreat Participants

Here is a list of the people scheduled to share their insights during the Workshop + Retreat.

  • deEtte Decker

    DeEtte Decker is the Social Media Strategist for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a Communications Consultant specializing in digital media strategies for faith-based and non-profit organizations. Growing up in a long line of Pentecostal pastors taught her how to spin a tale with passion and charisma while simultaneously setting forth objectives, determining actions to achieve goals, and mobilizing the women’s ministry to execute the potluck. It’s fair to say the Church has been her first love, her biggest heartbreak, and much more than an outdated institution that she can’t seem to quit. Her business, communication, military, and ministry experience combine to form a unique and fresh perspective on our world, faith, and family.

  • Jan Schnell

    The Rev. Dr. Jan Schnell is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and an Assistant Professor of Liturgics at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque. She previously has served on the faculties of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. In her teaching, preaching and research, she is committed to interdisciplinarity, and pedagogies or methodologies that recognize the inherent value and wisdom that each participant brings. She delights in God’s spirited movement in the fabric of our daily lives and on the streets of our public spaces. 

  • Sarah Hegar

    The Rev. Sarah Hegar grew up in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and is a lifelong Presbyterian. She majored in Physical Education at Iowa State University and upon graduation completely shifted gears to attend seminary at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas.  After back moving to Iowa with her husband and ministry partner, the Rev. Trey Hegar, she joined the staff of the Presbytery of East Iowa as Networking Associate and later became as Director of Congregational Ministries for First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant. She has been the keynote speaker at multiple women retreats and in her spare time can be found playing golf, walking at East Lake Park, cheering on her beloved Cyclones.

  • Warren Jensen

    As the moderator of the Presbytery of East Iowa's Pastoral Care Team, the Rev. Warren Jensen is a Pastor to Pastors. His ministry focuses on helping his fellow teaching elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament begin to build a greater sense of identity and community among themselves as Pastors and leaders. He will be leading a post-Workshop discussion group for in-person participants who would like to debrief while all the discussion topics are fresh in their minds.

  • Rob Martin

    The Rev. W. Robert Martin III began his ministry as St. Andrew Presbyterian Church's lead pastor in January 2021. As such, he has learned firsthand how to begin meeting and ministering to a congregation during a time of pandemic and social distancing. Over this three decades in ministry, he also has served as a chaplain in the Tenderloin of San Francisco ministering to folks dying of AIDS, as a chaplain for Warren Wilson Presbyterian College in Swannanoa, North Carolina, and as a pastor of churches in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Palo Alto, California. He has served as a liturgical writer for PC(USA) General Assemblies and for various national conferences around the country.

Video Introduction