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

Presbytery Partnerships Provide New School, Old School, Learning Opportunities

The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) has supported a variety of partnerships over the years, including those with Pittsburgh Seminary (the Certificate in Spiritual Formation) and with PCCCA, the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (Compass Points Certificate Program--more on that in the next issue).

But CLL recently presented two “firsts” in our continuing efforts to provide educational programs for imaginative and resilient leaders.

First, we went “old school…”

“Pastoral Leadership for Creating Healthier Churches” was the topic for the inaugural seminar conducted for the Flint River Presbytery. Dr. Ron Richardson, retired Presbyterian pastor, author of Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life, and expert on Bowen family system theory, led this two-day event on the CTS campus.

It was an opportunity for the group of men and women to get away from home, share meals, go to a Braves game, use the JBC Library on campus, and enjoy late-night conversations about life and ministry. Based on the enthusiastic response of the first group, we are exploring possibilities for subsequent events for the original group of eleven and hopefully an expanded number of Flint River clergy.

Spearheaded by Paul Luthman, executive presbyter, and Richard Hart, member of the Committee on Ministry and pastor of Trinity Church in Valdosta, this initiative was partially underwritten by funds raised in the presbytery.

Then we went “new school…”

The Presbytery of St. Andrew (MS) partnership, while long-standing, has struggled in recent years to schedule traditional residential lectures at times that worked for seminary faculty. Thanks to web-enhanced learning, the group that gathered in early October at Camp Hopewell in Oxford, MS enjoyed a lecture and discussion on “Isaiah and Advent: Lectionary Texts for Year C” led by Dr. Brennan Breed, assistant professor of Old Testament, from the comfort of his office on the CTS campus.

Greg Goodwiller, member of the seminary Board of Trustees and St. Andrew’s executive presbyter, is an advocate for and practitioner of web-enhanced methods of conducting meetings and learning events and broached the idea of using this new delivery system for this year’s event.  “Although we are blessed with designated funds for the partnership, this simplified scheduling delivered a very effective seminar to boot,” said Goodwiller.

Breed agreed, adding, “With my class schedule for fall semester, I couldn’t travel to Camp Hopewell. But this way, I taught my intro to Hebrew class at 8:30 AM and then logged into Adobe Connect to join the group for a total of four hours between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM.”

Look for The Center for Lifelong Learning to offer an expanded menu of regularly scheduled learning events on topics related to leadership in ministry, spiritual formation, and educational ministry using web-enhanced tools beginning in 2014 and beyond, as well as an enhanced schedule of on-campus and off-campus residential courses. To view the most current listing, visit here.