Clergy Spiritual Life & Leadership: Going Deeper Overview
An Ecumenical Program to Nurture the Spiritual Heart and Leadership of Clergy in Congregations
Today a serious concern for spiritual life and leadership across all denominational boundaries is re-forming our understanding of personal spiritual life, of leadership, and the church. Many clergy living in the midst of this climate of change are being called to deeper spiritual grounding.
Shalem’s 16-month program offers a dedicated time for nurturing one’s own soul and for deepening one’s contemplative orientation as a congregational spiritual leader. A contemplative attitude encourages openness to God’s grace in the changing situations of life and, where called for, freedom to embrace both personal and collective risk-taking. It provides a spiritual foundation for authentic vision and action.
This Program is for clergy who serve on the staffs of local churches or whose ministry involves the local church and who:
Desire a deeper grounding of their personal spiritual lives;
Seek honest spiritual community as well as a network of mutual support and practical learning with other spiritually open clergy;
Value collaboration with laity in nurturing the spiritual heart and vision of the congregation, including a vision of the church as one of the most life-giving forces in this time of great transition for our culture;
Are eager to learn within a broad ecumenical Christian framework.
In a spacious, prayer-filled, collegial atmosphere, individuals will have an opportunity to deepen their appreciation of the many ways God’s Spirit is alive in them and their congregational life and leadership. Emphasis will be on an open, immediate presence to the Spirit, through all explorations in the program and in congregational leadership.
For some years Shalem has considered a program specifically designed for clergy, concerning personal spiritual life and leadership in the congregation. In 1997, Shalem received a grant to further consider the needs of congregational clergy for ongoing spiritual formation and deepening in the life of the Spirit.
One widespread need that surfaced was for a network of other clergy who would be a source of support and stimulus for those involved in contemplatively-inspired congregational spiritual leadership. In response to this need, we invited clergy who had participated in our programs and who shared a concern for deeper personal spiritual grounding and leadership in the local church to come together for the purpose of seeking mutual help and inspiration. A National Gathering of Contemplative Clergy was held in November 1999.
The Gathering gave the impetus for developing a new extension program for clergy in congregational settings. Although our other extension programs connected with certain dimensions of congregational spiritual leadership and many clergy participated in them, none gave the context of the local church as the explicit and shared focus. In June 2001, the first participants began their experience of this new program, Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership: Going Deeper.
This program offers a dedicated time for nurturing one’s own soul and for deepening one’s contemplative orientation as a congregational spiritual leader. A contemplative attitude encourages immediate openness to God’s grace in the shifting situations of daily life and, where called for, freedom to embrace both personal and collective risk-taking. In this sense, contemplative does not refer to a narrow, separate path but rather to an undergirding dimension of the way we live our lives, open-to-the-Spirit-in-the-moment in personal and congregational life. A contemplative orientation provides a steady spiritual foundation for authentic living, vision and action.
For more information please visit the website.