Executive Council, Clergy Preview College for Congregational Development

Bishop Jennifer and the Rev. Alissa Newton, program director for the College for Congregational Development in the Diocese of Olympia, at Waycross in December

Registration is filling up fast for the Diocese of Indianapolis’s inaugural week-long intensive College for Congregational Development (CCD) training. The training, which will take place July 12-18 at Waycross, is designed for teams of lay and clergy leaders interested in congregational and organizational development. Just 11 spots in the 50-person session remain, says Canon Kristin White, who leads the program.

“As a CCD consultant and trainer and as a rector, I’ve experienced the power of CCD for equipping people who are seeking to connect with one another and with God,” she says. “It’s our hope that CCD will help us create a common language and culture of practice of congregational development that includes congregations of all sizes, locations and conditions across the diocese.”

In December, members of Executive Council and diocesan clergy got a preview of the training during their respective retreats.

“I found the training really helpful,” says the Rev. Bradley Pace. “What I got from the College is not a claim to be ‘the new big thing,’ but an emphasis on dynamics that we mostly know, but for many of us are not instinctual, so it’s helpful to talk about them and put them in a framework and bring them back to our congregations. This training will help all of us move in stronger, better directions.”

“Under Bishop Jennifer’s leadership we are beginning to turn the diocese into a community that embraces ‘radical welcome’ and expresses our mission in every aspect from our budget to, now, our leadership formation,” Executive Council member Mariann Scott says. “I am hoping that participants come into the training with an open heart to learning new ways of thinking and leading.”

Like many College participants, Scott found that the program’s benefits extend beyond church. She was particularly inspired by a College model of Benedictine spirituality that explains the life cycle of people and organizations using St. Benedict’s teachings on stability, listening to God, and conversion of life.

“The experience was exactly what I needed,” Scott says. “I am going through major changes within my work life, and learning about the Benedictine Life Model was perfect to not only apply to how I can use these tools in my church leadership work but also in my secular work.”

The College, according to White, aims to foster “healthy, faithful, sustainable churches living into their calling to be the Body of Christ in their own place and time.” The program’s effectiveness stems from its emphasis on equipping teams of leaders who can identify their congregations’ challenges and opportunities and are equipped to respond.

“I believe that the College for Congregational Development will help to make it possible for us to learn new ways of collaborating and leaving our silos to further God’s work in the world together,” Scott says.

Learn more and register for the July training.