Educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world.

Courses and Events

Sea Kayaking: An Eco-Travel Seminar

Starting: 12/30/2014
Ending: 1/6/2015

Welcome the New Year amidst the unpredictable beauty of God’s creation. Participants in this eco-travel seminar will spend five days sea kayaking through the Bahamas. We will camp on the islands, learn about environmental ethics, and take time for spiritual renewal. Participants must be of at least average fitness, able to swim, and willing to live “off the grid” for a week. Experience in backpacking/camping and/or kayaking helpful but not necessary. We will learn the skills and best practices for kayak camping and open water travel in a safe and encouraging environment.

Click the booklet below for more details. Three more spaces remain - registration will remain open until Nov. 30. 

Trip leaders: Mark Douglas and Steve Harrington

Details and registration

Lectionary Studies Lent/Easter B through Christmas C (January Seminars)

Starting: 1/20/2015
Ending: 1/23/2015

Designed for the preacher and teacher, this seminar will provide you with a fresh look at lectionary passages (RCL) from Lent B to Christmas C, AND time to use what you learn to polish your worship and preaching plans for the coming liturgical year. Early registration discount through November 1.

Instructors: David Bartlett, Brennan Breed, Erica Durham, Michael Morgan, Raj Nadella and Khalia Williams.

Details and Registration 

Reading Thomas Merton’s Journals as Lectio Divina: An Intimate Way of Reading with Crisis and Mystery

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 1/29/2015
Ending: 2/1/2015

Thomas Merton’s life-long journal project (1939 – 1968) is a key to understanding both his life and developing work. The journals also work like a prayer book. Recorder, catalyst, and an inspiration for books he himself published, the seven volumes of the complete journals, as excerpted in the edited THE INTIMATE MERTON, will be examined through focused study.  This selected gathering of entries, taken from each volume of the complete journals, will be used as material which can be seen to function as fuel for Lectio Divina.

Reading the selections in THE INTIMATE MERTON, the class will do several things. First, we will begin to become familiar with particular passages (and with the 16 journals which have been published – by Merton, or adapted by him, as well as edited by others). Secondly, the course will focus on entries from these selections to understand more fully the process of spiritual journey.  These are entries not just for Merton but for anyone’s spiritual journey. Lastly, it will be possible also to examine many of these entries in detail as a four-step process which clearly encourages rereading and prayer.  

Instructor: Victor Kramer

Details and Registration

S3 2014 Cohort Concluding Retreat

Starting: 2/9/2015
Ending: 2/11/2015

The four peer learning groups in the 2014 Cohort will conclude their work, reflect on their projects, and share lessons learned with one another. The schedule will include ample time to work on group and project evaluations and explore options for continued peer group learning.  Monday evening includes a dinner featuring reports by each group. Participants will receive registration information by December 1, 2014.

A Dwelling Place for God: Discerning Anew the Relations between Creation, Eschatology, and Ecology

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 2/12/2015
Ending: 2/15/2015

This course is especially for those who wish to rediscover a Christian spirituality that is rooted in and integrates creation, worship, justice, and hope. Early Judaism and Christianity both understood the temple as a symbol of the whole creation, an image of heaven and earth as they were meant to be, and as the place where God’s presence was to be found. The early Christians shaped their corporate practices and self-understanding as the “body of Christ” in light of the story of Christ, which depicted Jesus’ body as a living temple (e.g., John 2:23). Images of temple and creation are found throughout the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation. How might reclaiming this material, now largely forgotten or misunderstood, provide us with models of spiritual practice and imagination for people living at the edge of history?

Instructor:  Stan Saunders                                Location:  Columbia Theological Seminary

Details and Registration

Compass Points: Non-Profit Management

(PCCCA Certificate Course)

Starting: 2/22/2015
Ending: 2/25/2015

This class will cover a wide range of topics relevant to managing a non-profit business including communications, governance, risk management, finances, and a basic business plan. It will be taught by Dan Scheneman of Heartland Presbyterian Center (Kansas City, MO) and Lauri Sojourner of Gravatt Camp and Conference Center (Aiken, SC). The location for this course will be Pyoca Camp, Conference and Retreat Center in Brownstown, Indiana. To learn more about the Compass Points certification program, go to

The Seven Concepts That Will Change Your Teaching

Starting: 2/23/2015
Ending: 2/25/2015

Has your teaching become routine? Is your bag of teaching tricks and methods running thin? Do you want to be more effective in your teaching? This program is for congregational educators—lay teachers, pastors, teaching staff, amd program staff who want to be more effective in their teaching.  This is a three-day educational workshop for personal and professional development in the area of teaching and learning in the congregational context.

Participants will be introduced to seven powerful concepts (“big ideas”) about teaching and learning that will form a framework for new ways to approach teaching and learning in work and ministry

Instructor: Israel Galindo

Details and Registration

Compass Points: Development

(PCCCA Certificate Course)

Starting: 2/25/2015
Ending: 2/28/2015

The course will examine multiple aspects of development in the camp and conference setting. Learners will explore fund development as well as staff, volunteer, and board development. It will conclude with study of a site, master, and strategic development plan. This class will be taught by Scott Henderson of Meadowkirk at Delta Farm (Middleburg, VA) and Mike Huber of Upper New York Annual Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries (Moravia, NY). The location for this program will be Pyoca Camp, Conference and Retreat Center in Brownstown, Indiana. To learn more about the Compass Points certification program, go to For questions about registration or the Compass Points program in general, please contact Joel Winchip, PCCCA Executive Director,  at  or 803.322.0232.

Immersion Experience: An Invitation to a Deeper Spiritual Life

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 3/8/2015
Ending: 3/11/2015

Discover the key ideas and foundational practices for the grand adventure of life in the Spirit! During this Thursday-Sunday Spirituality Immersion Experience, you will explore the origins of the Christian spiritual tradition, while learning the formative elements of Biblical, monastic, and Reformed spirituality. Our schedule includes time for personal reflection through guided meditative journaling — an exercise for exploring your own unique journey with the living God. Getting to know your fellow students, in both small group and one-on-one settings, will support your practical application of the knowledge acquired over the course.

Location: Montreat Conference Center

Details and Registration

Leadership in Ministry Session II

Pastoral Excellence Program

Starting: 3/8/2015
Ending: 3/11/2015

The Center for Lifelong Learning is a new location for Leadership in Ministry (LIM) workshops beginning in the fall of 2014. Participants will continue to learn how the concepts of family emotional process can be applied to their own ministry contexts, and explore the theological implications of these concepts, building on their work in November 2014. Each session follows the themes of Dr. Edwin Friedman’s book, Generation to Generation, with one day devoted to each of the minister’s three interlocking families: the minister’s own personal family (nuclear and extended), congregation member families and the congregation as a family. The Program fee of $480 includes all program fees, refreshments and six meals for each session (dinner Monday through lunch Wednesday). Thanks to a generous grant from the Pastoral Excellence Network (PEN), two nights of on-campus housing are provided.

Exploring the Non-Dominant Divine

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 3/19/2015
Ending: 3/22/2015

Two thousand years of Christian history and doctrine have taught a theology of God’s dominion, strongly associated with a masculine naming of the Divine. Yet the Incarnation challenges our notions of domination and dominance.  In addition both modern psychology and spirituality offer insight into how the Holy moves through our “inferior functions” or non-dominant personality structures.

Is it possible that our own non-dominance is in deep resonance with God’s most profound way of being? Through sacred texts, modern and ancient writings, poetry, conversation and journaling, we will explore together what it might mean to celebrate and participate in the Non-Dominant Divine.

Instructor: Marjorie Thompson                Location: Columbia Theological Seminary

Details and Registration

The Process of Aging and Implications for Ministry

Older Adult Ministry Certificate Course

Starting: 4/13/2015
Ending: 4/15/2015


This course will explore practical ways that our congregations, families, and caregivers can adapt and respond to age-related changes in body, mind and spirit in order to enhance the well-being and quality of life among older people.

Leader: Mary Ann Johnson

Details and Registration

The Church: A System of Relationships. An Introduction to Bowen Systems Theory and Congregational Leadership

Starting: 4/14/2015
Ending: 5/1/2015

This course is an introduction to Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) applied to the congregational context and to congregational leadership.  Through formal guided discussions; reflecting on personal experience; and examining latent theological ideals of congregation, Church, and leadership, participants will gain a new understanding of their congregation and their leadership roles. This is an online course

Instructor: Israel Galindo

Details and Registration

Teaching for Transformation with Older Adults

Older Adult Ministry Certificate Course

Starting: 4/16/2015
Ending: 4/18/2015


Teaching and learning methods that enhance engagement in, and ownership of, the learning process are as important for older adults as they are for all ages. Explore learning styles, examine effective teaching methods, experience current teaching-learning theories, and consider application to and adaptations for older adults.

Leader: Joyce MacKichan Walker

Details and Registration

Thompson Scholars 2015 - Spiritual Pioneers: The Call, Risks and Blessings of Church Development - Application Deadline Extended to JAN. 9, 2015

Starting: 4/21/2015
Ending: 4/24/2015

Thompson Scholars 2015 will explore the topic, “Spiritual Pioneers: The Call, Risks and Blessings of Church Development." This annual event brings together pastors and other church leaders with a special interest in evangelism. Dr. Jeffery L. Tribble, Sr., associate professor of ministry at the seminary, will lead the seminar, assisted by Rev. David I. Neville, Jr., D.Min, Rev. Jin S. Kim, D.Min., and Rev. Sara Hayden.

This year’s seminar is designed for those new to church planting and development, or who are tasked with organizing a new worshipping community or revitalizing an existing community. This is an application-based program. Qualified applicants will be accepted until we reach maximum enrollment. For an application form click here. The application deadline is January 9, 2015. Applicants will be notified of their status by January 15, 2015. Preference will be given to applicants who have not participated in previous Thompson Scholar seminars. For additional information, including a link to the application, click HERE.

Praying with Julian of Norwich

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 4/23/2015
Ending: 4/26/2015


The fourteenth-century anchoress and teacher of prayer has, in our own era, become recognized as one of Christianity’s most masterful and comforting spiritual guides, as witnessed, for example, by Paulist Press’s choice of her Revelations of Divine Love to initiate its important series of the Classics of Western Spirituality.  During a 24-hour period of serious illness, Julian was drawn into an intense sixteen-part dialogue with Christ on the Cross, during which He “showed” or “revealed” seminal truths which she was to proclaim to all her “fellow Christians.”  These were not new ideas, but rather core truths that had become neglected during the past centuries, some of which indeed seemed to contradict some of the major emphases of the Christianity of her era.

By reading carefully the Long Text of Julian’s Revelations, this class will examine and  meditate on those key insights into God’s relationship to Creation as revealed to her expressly for the sake of us, those “fellow Christians” of whom she is so aware--God’s non-condemnatory love and goodness constantly active in all that exists; humankind’s partnership with God through life in the Trinity; God as Mother, courteous, familiar, easy to be with; and Jesus’ astounding promise to the whole world “that all shall be well.”

Dewey Kramer
Location: Montreat Conference Center, lodging information here

Details and registration


Preaching the Verbs - A New Approach to Preaching

Starting: 5/4/2015
Ending: 5/6/2015

If you do a quick survey of any Bible passage, you’ll find that the verbs dominate. It’s what we do and don’t do that preoccupies human beings. And it’s the verbs we cannot imagine for ourselves (live, liberate, forgive, resurrect) that the church offers, and that we reach for, week after week. Dr. Anna Carter Florence puts a twist on dramatic theory and invites us to read the biblical “script” by focusing on the verbs that are given and chosen by the characters. What new things will we see and hear in both our sacred text and our human drama when we connect the verbs? How can that, in turn, change and renew our preaching?

Instructors:  Dr. Anna Carter Florence, John Marshall, Associate Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary, assisted by Rev. Khalia Williams, Chapel Coordinator and Adjunct Professor of Worship and Preaching.

Details and Registration

Want to stay for an entire week for independent study/worship planning? See extended stay housing option, or indicate on registration form number of additional nights (departure Friday, May 8).

New Course: Colloquy for Mid-Career Clergy

Pastoral Excellence Program

Starting: 8/10/2015
Ending: 8/12/2015

Dates:             Session I - August 10 - 12, 2015

                      Session II – January 11 - 13, 2016

This new, application-based program is designed for mid-career clergy (ten to twenty years into full-time ministry). Applicants should desire to participate in a professional formative conversation, to reflect on their vocational experience, and assess their ability to meet the leadership demands/needs of their organization. Attention will be given to addressing common experiences and issues of mid-career clergy: facing either a normative or unanticipated career transition; standing at a vocational crossroads of some sort; engaging in reflective self-assessment; and finding support among peers.

For an application form, click HERE. The application deadline is April 15, 2015. Applicants will be selected and notified in May. Enrollment is limited and attendance is required at both sessions. For additional information, including a link to the application, click here.

Instructors: Dr. Betty Pugh Mills, Rev. Jonathan Ball

Life is a Sacred Story: Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future with Sacred Journaling

(An Online Course)

Starting: 9/14/2015
Ending: 10/9/2015

Instructors: Carl McColman and Israel Galindo

Details and Registration coming soon!

Spirituality Program 20th Anniversary Celebration

Starting: 9/18/2015
Ending: 12/20/2014

Keynote Speaker: Rodger Nishioka

Details and Registration coming soon!

Bill Brown Teaching at Montreat

Starting: 10/22/2015
Ending: 10/25/2015

Details and Registration coming soon!

Ignatian Spirituality

Starting: 11/9/2015
Ending: 11/13/2015

Instructor: Jim Dant

Details and Registration coming soon! 

Leadership in Ministry Workshop (Atlanta)

Starting: 11/16/2015
Ending: 11/19/2015

Dates:     Session I - Nov. 16-19, 2015
               Session II – March 7-9, 2016

The Center for Lifelong Learning will host a second cohort for Leadership in Ministry (LIM) workshops beginning in the fall of 2015. Participants will learn how the concepts of family emotional process can be applied to their own ministry contexts and explore the theological implications of these concepts. This program is comprised of two three-day sessions (fall and spring). Each session follows the themes of Dr. Edwin Friedman’s book, Generation to Generation, with one day devoted to each of the minister’s three interlocking families: the minister’s own personal family (nuclear and extended), congregation member families and the congregation as a family. 

The Program fee of $480 includes all program fees, refreshments and six meals for each session (dinner Monday through lunch Wednesday). Thanks to a generous grant, two nights of housing are provided for each session.

Registration for the 2015-16 Cohort will open in May, 2015.

Metaphors, Imagination, and the Art of the Psalms

Starting: 1/28/2016
Ending: 1/31/2016

Instructor: Ryan Bonfiglio

Details and Registration coming soon!

Registration 4-8 weeks prior to each course is encouraged, as pre-course preparation and reading may be required.  Courses may be canceled or postponed if sufficient numbers of participants are not enrolled 3-6 weeks prior to the start date of the event.