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To Bend But Not Break — Leadership for Building Resilient Congregations

Conflict and adversity touches each community of faith at one time or another — through financial challenges, leadership transitions, personal loss, difficult decisions and differences. With the right skills and perspectives, these tensions don’t have to lead to destructive altercation in the life of a congregation, but can be opportunities for creativity and spiritual growth. 

Dedicated to “inoculating” communities with greater resilience in order to respond to these challenges in life-giving ways, the day-and-a-half workshop is particularly designed for teams of pastor and lay leaders. Others who will benefit from the program include chaplains, educators, denominational heads and those involved with healing or working with congregations and communities in times of trauma, turmoil or transition. This interactive training incorporates the basic skills, theory and theology of trauma healing and conflict transformation while engaging hearts, minds and bodies in the process.

Come explore the basic ways a congregation gains greater resilience. Participants will learn to:

Clarify the Context Understanding the larger forces and patterns at play, the hidden effects trauma and conflict have on a community, and the critical need for resilience

Communicate Constructively Honing the essential skills of deep listening and dialogue

Create a “Container” — Dealing with an anxious organization, maintaining healthy boundaries, and an environment conducive to creativity and conflict transformation

Chart a Course Engaging in processes for restoring resilience including facilitating spiritual reflection, addressing pressing problems, incorporating rituals for healing, creating a new narrative, and wrestling with issues of identity. 

Program Information:
Pre-program preparation includes writing a brief “case” from your own experience to be shared during our time together and suggested articles and books to read as background for the training. Teams from individual congregations will have time to reflect together and create a concrete plan for sharing new skills and insights.

In addition, the program includes a two-hour follow-up support visit on-site with each participating congregation as they implement what they've learned.

The workshop will be facilitated by the Rev. Karen Nell Smith. For the past 20 years, she has assisted faith-based organizations representing a number of denominations and traditions throughout New England by providing facilitation and training as they work through issues of conflict, engage in discernment and visioning, or seek to strengthen the peacemaking skills as communities of faith. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and is presently serving as pastor of the Congregational Church of Christ, UCC, in North Leominster, MA.

Friday, Sept. 23, 3 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 24, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Edwards House Meeting and Retreat Center
1 Badger Road, Framingham, MA

ncludes workshop supplies, notebook, and meals. Team of 3 (pastor + 2): $250. Advance payment required.

Space is Limited! 

Registration Deadline:
Sept. 16, 2016

Register Online

Questions? Email Andrea Bellaros


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