Courage to Lead: An Online Retreat Series for Faith Leaders

A Circle of Trust Series offered by the Minnesota Conference of the UCC

The Center for Courage & Renewal, through its extended work with faith leaders across many denominations and regions has learned that some of the key factors enabling leaders (ordained and lay) to call forth their best heart and soul for ministry include:

  • Experiences that offer time and space to pause and reflect about key aspects of a ministerial call.
  • Gatherings rooted in a true invitation. It is critical that clergy be the ones to decide when—and whether—to engage in a spiritual journey.
  • Self-reflective work based on multiple ways of knowing and learning. The Circle of Trust model invokes many learning and personality styles. There is an emphasis on individual spiritual work within the context of community.
  • An approach based on the belief that suggests true discernment allows your own inner wisdom to emerge. An emphasis is placed on listening to the wisdom of our own inner teacher before seeking other professional, theological or liturgical resources.
  • The creation and affirmation of safe and brave space. Important soul work often is vulnerable work. Retreats will be designed to provide space that is confidential and affirming of individuals’ journeys. 

The Minnesota Conference of the UCC is offering a new Courage to Lead series using an extended, virtual model of gathering together. We have redesigned this experience to meet the new demands of ministry during a pandemic. 

Over the course of five months, we will gather virtually for seven days. We will gather for no more than 3 hours at a time on Zoom. Many have experienced the virtual format to offer a more generative pace than a more intense, in-person gathering. Ample time will be given for self-reflection, small group sharing/listening, and group discussion.

  • October 5–6:  Two sessions each day (9 am–noon & 4:00-5:30 pm CST)
  • November 2, December 7 and January 4: 1 session each day (9 am–noon, CST)
  • February 8–9:  Two sessions each day (9 am–noon & 4:00-5:30 pm CST)

Participants will be invited to the following:

  • An opportunity to reconnect with our sense of call. With the new and powerful demands of ministry in a time of pandemic, it is easy to lose a sense of self in the crush of our work. This experience will invite participants to explore how we can reconnect who we are with what we do in ministry. We will explore several themes that relate to the rhythms of our vocational lives as clergy or faith leaders.
  • As we journey through a career in ministry, we often find ourselves living in the gap between what we believe possible in ministry and faith, and life in ministry as it really is. We’ll explore what it means to stand in this gap and understand its influences on our sense of ministry today.
  • Time to become acquainted or renew your experience with the Circle of Trust approach developed by the Center for Courage & Renewal, and its unique ability to create safe space and relational trust. Included in this will be learning the practice of asking honest open questions, learning to listen to our inner teacher, and embracing paradox as a frame to understand ministry.
  • Experience a community of other clergy and lay leaders interested in growing Circle of Trust work in their ministry setting.
  • Receive exposure and hands on experience with practical ways Circle of Trust material can be used in a variety of settings.

Cost & Registration

  • The cost for the retreat series is $400 (this can be payable in two equal installments by September 30, 2020, and January 31, 2021).
  • Participants from the Minnesota Conference UCC are eligible for a $200 discount.
  • Full refunds will be provided if cancellation is made no less than one week prior to the event. A $100 cancellation fee will be charged for cancellation within one week of the event.

Register here.

Facilitators: Read more about co-facilitators Winton Boyd and Greg Eaton.

Comments from Participants in our 2018/19 series:

“This series has been both delightful and formative for me.  The continued consistency, the ongoing witnessing of my journey has been such a blessing and gift. This series enables me to take my full self – heart and soul – into my ministry of continued work in the world.”

“I was ripe for this.  I had been experiencing and exploring for years, and these retreats helped bring me to action…it focused my work in a deep way.”

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023