Early Childhood Director's Conference

January 21, 2021

Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Lake Forest, CA


"For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you - that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine."  
Romans 1:11-12

This year's conference will be held live at Abiding Savior Lutheran Preschool, observing all social distancing requirements for Orange County, CA,  and lived streamed to a site in Arizona and Las Vegas (yet to be determined).  All Directors are encouraged to participate in this one day event!  Schedule and speaker information is below.  Cost for this year's event is $30 for partner school directors and $35 for non-partner school directors.  Partner schools are those schools who have contributed to School Services for the 20-21 school year.  Please contact the School Ministries office for more information.  

PSD Gradient


CA & NV                        AZ

8:30 am - 9 am               9:30 am - 10:00 am                     Registration

9:00 am - 9:30 am          10:00am - 10:30 am                    Worship (Lead by host pastors at host locations)

9:30 am                          10:30 am                                     Short Break

9:45 am - 10:00 am        10:45 am - 11: 00 am                  District Sharing

10:00 am - Noon            11:00 am - 1:00 pm                     Dr. John Eckrich, Spiritual Wellness & Self-Care 

12:00 noon                     1:00 pm                                      Lunch

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm        1:45 pm - 2:45 pm                      Sara Marko, Connect & Be Present 

1:45 pm                          2:45 pm                                      Closing

Speakers and Program

Dr. John Eckrich, Grace Place Ministries

God has gifted each of us with our bodies, minds, spirits and all things including our fellow saints and sinners to allow us to glorify and serve Him. The Word has created all this from the beginning, and therefore we are not the owners of these gifts, but rather the stewards, until He returns again to restore all things to perfection. In the meantime, we are broken vessels, in need of Christ’s constant, active, grace-filled presence in our lives and in the life of the world. Grace Place Wellness Ministries was founded over 20 years ago to equip and encourage the workers in Lutheran faith communities (pastors, teachers, deaconesses, musicians, DCE’s, etc) to lead healthy lives of stewardship—physically, emotionally, intellectually, relationally, vocationally, financially, spiritually and baptismally. The Lutheran Wellness Wheel enclosed has been developed within our faith community and by Grace Place as a valuable instructional tool to examine and encourage your health and wellness in your service to God’s people, especially Jesus precious little lambs. We are in volatile, rapidly changing days with enormously competing messages about wellbeing. In our time together, we are going to look at what the Bible and current practical, medical and scientific knowledge offers us to care for ourselves—not selfishly, but selflessly—as we love and serve Him and those He has placed in our care..

Dr. John Eckrich is a life-long Lutheran and Board Certified Internist and Gastroenterologist serving St. Louis, MO for over 50 years. The last 20 years, he has founded and directed Grace Place Wellness Ministries, an RSO of the LCMS, established to inspire and encourage Lutheran pastors and teachers and their families to lead healthy lives. Over 10,000 LCMS clergy and educators have received health and wellness training through Grace Place retreats and learning resources. Dr. Eckrich is the author of four books on wellness, including the recently released book from CPH, “Family Wellness: Raising Resilient, Christ-Purposed Children.” He resides both in St. Louis and Aspen, CO with his wife of nearly 50 years, three children and their spouses and two wonderful grandchildren.

Sara Marko, St. JOhn's, Orange

In order to truly “Connect and Be Present” with those around you, your own health and well-being must come first. As educators, we tend to put others before our self, and sometimes we even feel selfish for asking for some alone time or even asking for help. During our session together, we will not only dive into how we can “Connect and Be Present” with ourselves, but also those around us. We will look at questions we can ask our self to check-in, questions we can ask our students, their families, and more. 

Mrs. Marko has been a member of the St. John’s team for 9 years – first as a middle school language arts teacher and most recently as the K-8 school counselor.  She is pleased to serve St. John’s in such an impactful role – providing behavioral and educational counseling to individual and small groups of students.  She works with students, families, teachers and the administration to find solutions to social, emotional, and academic problems and issues.  Mrs. Marko was born in St. Louis, MO and came to Southern California at the age of 5.  She holds both a Bachelors and a Masters Degree in Education (specifically in School Counseling) from Concordia University, Irvine. Of St. John’s she says, “St. John’s feels like home to me.  My coworkers aren’t just colleagues, they are family.”

Worship will be led as a live stream event by Pastor Glenn Lucas, Senior Pastor at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church and School in Lake Forest, CA.

Spiritual Wellness & Self-Care

Connect & Be Present 

PSD School Ministries

1540 Concordia Drive

Irvine, CA 92612-3203


Monday - Friday

8:00 am - 4:30 pm

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