Fall MEFs – (10AM hybrid, 6PM Zoom)
Rev. Carla Christopher will lead us in the work of Justice Conversations with our congregations. This 2-hour session covers boundary awareness and anti-racism credits.
LTS President Emeritus Peter Schmiechen will lead discussion on his book Tradition in Crisis: The Case for Centric Protestants. Pre-reading is not required.
Rev. Rachel Schwab will lead us in discussion around trauma-informed pastoral care. This 2-hour session is considered boundary training.
Boundary Awareness and Anti-Racism Training – Intersectionality and Power Dynamics
In this session, Nora will discuss ways in which we as leaders in the church navigate ever changing power dynamics as culturally more and more important intersections are defined. Her participation in a training event with Rev Lori Tapia, the DOC National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries, and Dr. Sharon Fennema, our UCC Curator for Join the Movement, led to the development of this culturally relevant discussion.
These sessions on October 25th are open to anyone clergy or lay. Register for the 10am or 6pm Zoom sessions here. Each are 2-hours.
Lay Leader Boundary Awareness – Healthy Church Relations
This 90-minute introductory session for lay leaders in the church will introduce issues of power, multiple relationships, church money, social media, and health information sharing practices built around a behavioral covenant. It’s sure to be an enlightening and empowering conversation. Please join this important conversation at 6:30pm on September 18th.
Clergy Boundary Awareness – Humility as Spiritual Practice
This will be the final offering of this high demand topic as Nora explores learnings from her summer 2022 sabbatical and memoir reading. Humility is something often spoken of, but more elusive when it comes to actual practice. We practice things so that we can get better. Athletes practice their sport regularly, even professional athletes. Musicians practice to improve their craft. A former church organist used to always say, “perfect practice makes perfect,” as she shut down the organ each day or finished up with students rehearing for recital. I practice centering prayer because I am truly terrible at it. I practice so that I can get incrementally better at that Mary moment of sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Memoir reading invited humility practice. It was a practice honoring different experiences and recognizing those as real and true, even if very different from my own understanding of the world. Come join me, and instruction from Sister Joan Chittister and the Benedictine Ladder of Humility, as we explore where boundaries and humility meet. October 11th at 10am and 6pm. Please register for this 2-hour session.
A Fall Book Study
Rev. Dr. Nora Foust will lead a two-night discussion on Clint Smith’s 2021 NY Times bestseller, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery in America. In this book Smith looks at the different ways that historical stories are retold as he travels from his birthplace in New Orleans to the Whitney Plantation, Angola State Prison, Blanford Cemetery, Monticello, Goree Island, Galveston Island, Dakar, Senegal, and more, listening to the various ways that the historical story of these locations are told. It is a powerful way to think about how we learn about the past and what we each think of as THE STORY. Smith writes, “my grandparent’s stories are my inheritance; each one an heirloom I carry.” (p. 288)
In these sessions, we will discuss our heirlooms, Smith’s inheritance, and how those both impact the ways in which we are church in the world today. All are welcome to join the discussion on November 6th and 7th 6:30-8pm on zoom. Please register. (These sessions can be used for clergy boundary credits with approval from your COM and a written reflection on boundaries and the ministry of holding sacred stories.)
**All clergy must accumulate 6 distinct hours every 3 years!**
Child Abuse History Clearances:
The state of Pennsylvania requires that volunteers and employees undergo background checks. Here are the three background checks they require:
- Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance
- Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Records Check
- Federal Criminal History Record Information (CHRI)
Morsels of Excellence
This is our first VLOG series and we hope it will be meaningful for you! These Morsels are intended to enhance and inform ministry in your local church. Each month (by the 15th), we will post a short video and discussion questions for your leadership team to engage each month.
We urge you to take the time to view these videos as a group. All are 5 minutes or less and are designed to begin a conversation and a learning journey to enhance your ministry.
After viewing the videos, please spend 5 minutes or so with one or two of the discussion questions that follow. Engage the questions for growth. Each video will include a scripture passage, read it and read it again. Ask questions. Grow spiritually.
Your ministry will be enhanced.
There is a feedback form included with the discussion questions each month and we would love to hear from you! How did these morsels feed your soul and nourish your ministry?