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Creating A Spiritual Community in Your Church

by Lifelong Learning Staff

Jane Vennard

Learn ways to create a community dedicated to spiritual formation within your congregation, in a course led by Jane Vennard, August 7-12 on the Columbia Seminary campus.

“Interest in spiritual formation is usually related to our individual lives,” says Deedra Rich, associate director of the CTS spirituality program. “We search for ways to grow closer to God through spiritual practices, and we may seek out others committed to the spiritual journey – but what we hope for and often are not equipped to create is a community dedicated to spiritual formation.”

Participants in the course, “Teaching Spiritual Formation in the Congregation,” will explore and engage many practical ways for building such a community.

“After discussing what we mean by spiritual formation, we will envision what it might look like in a congregation,” says Jane Vennard, senior adjunct faculty member at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. “We will experience practices that guide our own spiritual formation, then find ways to share these disciplines with others.

“We will look closely and compassionately at our own churches, to discern their needs for spiritual growth.”

Participants will then learn specific methods for introducing spiritual formation and eliciting commitments from their congregations

The course will be experiential, including prayer, small groups, individual reflection, and silence, as well as presentations and discussion.

“You will begin your own teaching plan and have the opportunity to share your ideas with other participants, so as to learn from one another,” Rich says.

This course is a part of the Certificate in Spiritual Formation. It is open to both certificate and non-certificate participants.

Ordained to a special ministry of teaching and spiritual direction in the United Church of Christ, Vennard is an author, retreat leader and spiritual director.

In this short
video clip from Iliff School of Theology, Vennard speaks of her passion for teaching spirituality and describes her teaching methods.