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Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Quickening
Sustaining Pastoral Excellence At St. Francis Retreat Center SEPTEMBER 12, 2008 FUNDED BY A GRANT FROM LILLY ENDOWMENT, INC. VOLUME 3, NUMBER 2 What’s Happening at SPE Announcement As we head into the many changes of Fall, so SPE heads into its own changes. Mary Tardif has decided to take the position of Director of Adult Education/Formation at St. Gerard Parish in Lansing. Terry Feuka will take the position of Grant Administrator, as well as continue the position of Media Specialist for the Resource Center. We all wish Mary many blessings and send her off with many heartfelt prayers of thanksgiving as well as prayers of hope and good will for her Sustaining new path in her ministry. Pastoral If you would like to contact Mary, you may email her at email@example.com or call her at 517-323-2379. Excellence: Ministering to the We are currently in the process of applying for a 3 year extension for the SPE Grant. The current grant will be over Dec.31, 2008. Minister Last Sabbath Time Retreat for 2008 Take a Break ----- Catch your Breath December 1-3 Monday – Wednesday All Retreats include 4 meals and 2 nights stay. Cost: $89.00. Facilitating Healthy Pastor-Congregation Relations (Clergy and Lay Leadership Training Program 2008-2010) – Speaker: Richard Blackburn - This workshop is intended to help congregations design If you are new systems for enhancing the relationship between churches and their pastoral to leadership. It would be an appropriate workshop for pastors, pastoral staff newsletters leaders, lay leaders and other church members, or judicatory staff and committees. Sept. 18, 2008 9:00am – 5:00 pm. Register at www.spe- by e-mail: stfrancis.org or call the St. Francis Retreat Center at 517-669-8321 ex.11 or click here. You can click on the highlighted items (run your cursor over the item and Quickening the Art Spirit – kindling and encouraging vitality of faith through questing, quieting, creating with Rev. Dr. Mary Ellen Ashcroft. “Whether you are discovering the connection between faith and art for the first time, or you are seeking a rebirth of sacred art in your life, this day is designed to offer nurture, insight, encouragement, personal quiet and creative expression within a prayerful community. Hear stories, be playful, enjoy the wonder of nature and do hands-on art making”. you will get a Join Rev. Dr. Mary Ellen Ashcroft September 30, 2008 8:30am to 3:00pm at message if it is St. Francis Retreat Center, DeWitt. Click here for brochure. Click here to register. “clickable). If you Or call 517-669-8321. click on it, you will automatically go to that document, email address, or website. Try it! Now forming….. NOTE: This will not work in PDF format (if the document says Long-Term Pastors Support Group .pdf at the end). Pastors who have served the same congregation for more than seven years may sometimes experience the need for renewal, sharing, and rediscovering the freshness of their call. A Long-Term Pastors Support Group is forming with the goals of sustaining excellence in our ministries, our preaching and administration, and committing ourselves to spiritual growth for ourselves and for those with whom we work. We commit to meeting faithfully together, once a month for two years. We also commit be being accountable to one another and being faithful in prayer for one another. Pastors who are interested may contact: Rev. Dr. Mark W. Jennings First Presbyterian Church of Richland 8047 Church St. Richland, MI 49083 269.629.4944 mailto:RevMarkJ@comcast.net?subject=Long-Term Pastors Support Group Family Systems Clergy Group A family systems peer group will begin meeting in DeWitt at the St Francis Retreat Center on the 4th Wednesdays of most months September through May 2009 from noon to 4:00 pm, September 24, October 22, Nov 26, none in December, January 28, February 25, March 25, April 22, May 27. Naomi Garcia, West Michigan Conference Ministry Consultant, will be the principle facilitator with a focus on teaching people how to apply family systems theory to their own professional and personal lives. The format will look something like this: eating lunch together, opening devotions/spiritual journeying by the host or group participant, 1 hour of content followed by 1-2 case presentations by the participants who volunteer in advance. The content to begin this group will be a study of Roberta Gilbert's 8 CONCEPTS OF BOWEN THEORY. This is the text Roberta Gilbert originally wrote for the clergy groups she facilitates in Virginia. This book is an easy read in spite of the dense nature of the topic. The intent of the case presentations is to give participants the benefit of being coached around their own functioning in a particular situation plus feedback from the observing rest of the group. Naomi will follow a format Murray Bowen used to train his therapy students. Family systems theory as it applies to the life of the congregation is based on the application of Murray Bowen's natural or family systems theory in psychiatry. The late Rabbi Edwin Friedman (author of FRIEDMAN'S FABLES, GENERATION TO GENERATION, and posthumously THE FAILURE OF NERVE and THE MYTH OF THE SHIKSA) was the first to make the application leap from psychiatry to the faith community. Since Friedman’s initial interdisciplinary application, Peter Steinke, Roberta Gilbert, Victoria Harrison, Richard Blackburn, Ronald Richardson, Jim Herrington, Trisha Taylor, Larry Foster and others have been helping professionals in the ministry be effective through their own maturity. Murray Bowen was the 1st in the USA to make use of family diagrams and sibling position in the practice of psychiatry. You may contact the host Mark Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments about the meeting place and accommodations. You may contact Naomi Garcia at email@example.com (616.459,4503 ext 322 or 616.430.1095) with any questions or comments about the content. Rhythm and Song Covenant Group A new experience called “Rhythm and Song Covenant Group” will be offered for pastoral leaders who love God and music. Designed around a daily rhythm of morning and evening prayer-songs, this group will be a source of renewed joy and energy. Each member will be invited to keep covenant with their own prayer-song times at home between meetings. A desire for a personal community of the Spirit rooted in service to God may call you to this group which will meet once a month on second Monday mornings October - March and first Monday mornings April - June. The first meeting will be October 13, 9:30-12:30, and will conclude June 1. The cost will be $30 each meeting, plus $8.00 for lunch (optional, with advance reservation). The book, Sounds of the Eternal by J Philip Newell, will need to be purchased and Sharon’s companion songbook is recommended. Contact Sharon Mick McAuley, the facilitator, for more details or to register: 517-881-4351. Whether or not you have musical skill, your singing, tapping, drumming, humming, warbling, whispering sounds will be enthusiastically welcomed. Librarian Available: 8am to 3pm Monday to Thursday Pastoral Peer Leadership Groups 8am to 12noon Fridays What we’re learning about how they support pastoral leaders Library Open: and their ministries - Patti Kenney, PPLG coordinator 9am – 5pm St. Francis Retreat Center has hosted 14 pastoral peer leadership groups Monday to Friday (PPLGs) with over 100 pastoral leaders from 16 denominations on our beautiful 90 acres since 2006. We wanted to share what we are learning from them about how they support pastoral leaders and their ministries. How the groups are structured Our PPLGs use a variety of models. Most groups meet for a half-day on our campus, and break bread together with food provided by St. Francis’ marvelous kitchen staff. A few of our groups meet less frequently for a one- or two-night stay. The focus of each group is unique; some groups use a topical or book study to guide their interaction; others follow a disciplined program of study, such as clergy family systems or Artist’s way. Still others use a Sabbath retreat or spiritual direction SPE at St. Francis model. Some share case studies of situations in their ministries where they would like to explore new options or opportunities. Others focus on informal sharing and Retreat Center prayer with personal and professional checking-in and accountability. Most groups shift their focus or schedule sometime along the way to fit better with how their group is developing and the needs of individual members. We found that both types of groups have worked well in supporting pastoral leaders and their ministries. 703 E. Main Street, DeWitt, MI 48820 Why pastoral leaders seek out a PPLG Phone: 866.669.8321 In most cases, one or two people were catalysts for starting the groups and inviting others to join. In the case of the new groups, two of the groups were Fax: 517.669.7332 influenced in their formation by highly successful existing groups. Some groups formed initially with the intent to engage in a project. Pastoral leaders were E-mail: motivated to join by such factors as: firstname.lastname@example.org • Desire to connect with colleagues in a deeper way • Wish for ongoing support in ministry; ideas, stories and resources for We’re on the Web! problem-solving and gaining perspective • Seeking a place to attend to their relationship with God www.spe-stfrancis.org • Need for a place of safety to “let down” and be themselves, explore pastoral identity and ministry issues Many have found the support of colleagues, sacred space of the Retreat Center, rest, freedom to share challenges or concerns, to have a surprisingly strong impact on their ability to maintain a well-lived pastoral life. Nearly all of the participants (94% handed in evaluations and/or participated in an annual focus group evaluation) indicated that they would continue to be in their current group or seek out a similar group in the future. What is Pastoral Excellence? Pastoral leaders’ understandings of pastoral excellence developed through their participation in pastoral peer leadership groups. Sustaining pastoral excellence requires living a balanced life and nurturing one’s own relationship with God. • “It helps to acknowledge the multitasking that is a part of our everyday lives and the toll it takes, and to take time to rest, renew and be fed.” • “You can’t give what you don’t have. We minister too often on fumes. I can’t ask my parishioners to practice Sabbath if I don’t do it myself.” • “I can be isolated. Meeting intentionally with colleagues allows me to get feedback, be intentional, troubleshoot, bounce ideas off each other.” • “The affirmation I receive from my colleagues helps me to accept where I am and acknowledge my gifts as well as face my challenges… We are not judgmental or competitive; we’re supportive of one another’s ministry.” • “I have permission to ‘land’. And the paradox is, slowing down can make it happen faster.” What difference has being in a peer group made for pastoral leaders? As a result of being in a pastoral peer leadership group, participants noted attitudes and behaviors that have shifted in their approaches to ministry: • Pastors employ a more collaborative approach to ministry: “I reach out instead of working alone. Wonderful supports emerge… that were there all the time, only I wouldn’t have seen them or tapped into them.” • Topical studies find practical applications “in the trenches”: “I keep going back to that and challenge myself: What does it mean for me to be authentic?” • Facing personal challenges and weaknesses support more effective ministry: “This is the first time I can really trust the people I’m sitting with. I am encouraged to explore the dark underbelly—this has a profound impact on how I work through the week. I am more comfortable in my own skin.” • Meeting together calls out a deep spirituality that is grounding. “I am reminded we are all beloved children of God. Meeting with [these colleagues] has helped me to identify and name my particular call, to value it and claim it.” • Colleagues can make it possible to continue during challenging times. “I have the experience of being sustained. This past year has been very challenging. I don’t know if I would have survived without the presence of these people… who understand the kinds of pressures I face… who get it.” The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program at St Francis Retreat Center is seeking continuing resources for supporting PPLGs. Currently, four groups have achieved sustainability and are meeting without a need for support from St. Francis. Other groups are forming this fall with support from our staff, and may be eligible for financial support in 2009. Two of these groups currently have open enrollment: a Family Systems Group and a Rhythm and Song Covenant Group (see information elsewhere in this newsletter.) If you are interested in forming or joining a Pastoral Peer Leadership Group, contact the SPE office at St. Francis. You may also reach the SPE PPLG coordinator, Patti Kenney directly at email@example.com or 734-730- 9808. Future SPE Events Calendar Sept. 18 9am – 5pm Facilitating Healthy Pastor- Congregation Relations – Richard Blackburn (Clergy and Lay Leadership Training Program) register at www.spe-stfrancis.org or call 517-669-8321 ex.11 or click here. September 30, 2008 Quickening the Art Spirit A one day retreat for exploring and experiencing a quickening of the spirit through creative activity. The day is designed to offer nurture, insight, encouragement, personal quiet and creative expression within a prayerful community. Hear stories, be playful, enjoy the wonder of nature and do hands-on art making. All levels of interest and skill in the creative arts are welcome. Cost: $35 (includes beverages, snacks, lunch, handouts, the use of basic art supplies). The facilitator will by Rev. Dr. Mary Ellen Ashcroft. Click here for brochure. Click here to register. Or call 517-669-8321. October 4-5, 2008 Project: Weaving the Future An initiation course in youth and young adult ministry offered by the Diocese of Grand Rapids Hispanic Ministry Office. For more information, contact Luis Beteta at firstname.lastname@example.org or (616) 243-3927. October 6-10, 2008 2008 NCAYR Conference - Contemplation, Church and Wholeness (Course: Religion and Health) - Faculty includes Dr. Gene Hausmann, Dr. John M. Perkins and Mark Yaconelli, M.A. Come and learn the answers to these questions -- Is religion good for your health? Are there health risks associated with religion? Are some religious beliefs healthier than others? Which religion is the healthiest? Which religious practices have posititve health effects? For more information please contact Gene Hausmann at 517-937-9042. December 1-3, 2008 Sabbath Time Retreat Click here to register or call at 517-669-8321 ex.11. Past SPE Events Healthy Congregation Workshop by the Presbytery of Lake Huron Hmong Christian Ministries Trauma Recovery for Those Recovering from Abuse and Neglect Instituto FE Y VIDA (for Hispanic Youth Leaders) Faithful Response to Domestic Violence: A workshop on domestic violence for clergy by Disciples of Christ Icon Writing Workshop by Prosopon School of Iconography Information for these and other events may be found at our Website www.spe-stfrancis.org Please watch for more detailed information to be featured for these events in future SPE Newsletters. What’s Happening at The SPE Resource Center If you are reading this newsletter, you probably have already signed up as an SPE Resource Center patron. If you are not sure or know that you are not a patron, please contact Terry at 517.669.8321 or email email@example.com to sign up. Please see our catalog online (click here) Donations This is a great time of year to clean out the desk, closet, study or den of books that you no longer want or need. The SPE Resource Center accepts donations. Once you deliver your items, they become the property of the Resource Center. The items are then reviewed to see if they are useful to the collection. If they are not useful then the items are put on the DISCARD shelf in the back of the Resource Center. Anyone who comes in may take any item off of that shelf and take it home to keep – for free. New Items at the Resource Center Into the Great Silence – DVD The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, 2008 The Friendship of women: a spiritual tradition by Joan Chittister, 2000. Praying through grief: healing prayer services for those who mourn by Mauryeen O’Brian, 1997. The Rosary: worry beads for anxious parents by Patricia M. Robertson, 2003. Come and check us out! Newsletter Archives Past Newsletters can be found at SPE website - Newsletters As always, there is one-on-one reference assistance. Terry is more than happy to answer your question or get material for you. For further information or assistance, please feel free to contact Terry Feuka at 517- 669-8321 ex.37 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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