As part of the 2020 Vision initiative, the Conference has developed the following strategic goal to support the ministry of congregational faith formation leaders:
During 2018, launch a 6-month leadership formation initiative for up to 20 faith formation leaders from both the Minnesota Conference and other conferences within the UCC that supports peer connection and learning, creates space for personal spiritual renewal, and strengthens the capacity for participants to nurture faith within the congregations they serve.
Thanks to generous funding from the Ashley Endowment, we are delighted to collaborate with the Center for Courage& Renewal, the group co-founded by Parker Palmer, to develop a new peer support and leadership formation initiative, Courage & Renewal for Faith Formation Leaders. For two decades, the Center for Courage & Renewal has helped create safe spaces for people to gather for reflection and meaningful conversations designed to support vocational exploration, building and maintaining trustworthy relationships, and finding alignment between one’s inner life and outer work in the world. Grounded in this work, Courage & Renewal for Faith Formation Leaders will offer an opportunity for congregational leaders to renew, reflect upon, and reconnect with the heart of their vocation.
Through two retreats and monthly peer learning circles, participants will be invited to:
- Slow down and disconnect from the busy pace of ministry life so that they can hear the voice of God within and deepen their spiritual practice
- Witness and be witnessed to by kindred peers
- Name the “leadership moment” they are in and investigate, talk through, and honor both struggles and successes while discerning a way forward
- Learn new skills for strengthening the capacity to listen with no agenda, ask open-ended questions, hold tensions in life-giving ways, and build relational trust.
Our hope is that by connecting with one another in mutually supportive spaces and being attentive to the presence of the Spirit around and within them that participants will remember to listen deeply to the whispers deep within their soul – whispers calling them to whole-hearted and authentic lives of service in the world.
To learn more about this exciting program initiative, please click here to check out the program website.