Spiritual Leadership Today

Spiritual Leadership Today

Plumb the depths of leadership in ministry in the diverse and intellectually challenging community at Drew Theological School. Interactive workshops help lay or clergy leaders of faith communities develop tools and practices to meet contemporary challenges in ministry. Whether you are seeking to deepen your knowledge, broaden your skills, or achieve CEU credit, Drew Theological School Center for Lifelong Learning is ready to equip you for success.

Topics for the 2015-2016 academic year range from leveraging your personality type for leadership to facilitating small group ministries, from grief counseling to cultivating joy.

  • Time: 9:00am – noon
  • Cost: $25 per workshop (fees include refreshments). Enter coupon code DREWTHEO for a 20% discount if you register by August 14th. Seminarians are eligible at no cost, but prior registration is required.
  • CEU: One continuing Education Unit is available with the completion of any three workshops for an additional cost of $35; two units are available upon completion of all six workshops for an additional cost of $70.

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Spring 2016 Workshop Details

Friday, February 26 – “Good Mourning’ Congregations: A Journey Through Loss Together”

Connie Palmer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The losses we experience in life can disconnect, isolate and divide us from life giving connections to God and to one another. This program will be an opportunity to:

  • define loss, grief, mourning and resilience
  • deepen your understanding of the impact of loss
  • dispel misconceptions about grief
  • explore the importance of ritual after a loss
  • learn the companioning model of grief support
  • consider how gender, developmental stage, and culture impact the experience of grief
  • understand what the Bible says about grief and supporting those who are grieving
  • discover what prevents healthy mourning
  • learn how to create a “good mourning” congregations

CPalmerConnie Palmer is a licensed clinical social worker who is an experienced teacher, therapist and school counselor with more than thirty years of experience working with youth and their families. She is currently the Director of Training for Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss in Westfield, NJ. She presents seminars on various topics such as: grief and loss, resilience, shame, parenting, anti-bullying, depression and anxiety. She is an active member and a certified lay servant at the First United Methodist Church in Westfield, NJ.


Saturday, March 5 – “Some Antidotes for Nonproductive Guilt, Shame, and Self-Blame”

Rev. Dr. Charlie McNeil, Licensed Marriage and Family therapist

Copy of CMcNeilWe’ve all experienced these subjective states and know their discomfort, both within our own heads and in our relationships with others. In this class, a positive approach, which integrates psychological principles and theological understandings will be offered to deal with this unholy trinity. The experience of any one or all three of these can range from an uncomfortable life-energy depleting episodic annoyance to confining a person in a paralyzing prison of low self-esteem, skewed perceptions, and dis-empowering doubt. Whether for personal growth or to assist others, treat yourself to an opportunity to see with new eyes and perhaps even feel a sense of relief and say, “Wow, I never thought of it that way!” God’s grace is a given and, to rephrase an old hymn, a goal for each of us is to learn and be able to love and accept myself,  “just as I am.”


Friday, March 18 – “Future Perfect, of Older Adult Ministry: Or How Baby Boomers Will Change the World as We Know it!”

Rev. William Randolph, Director of Aging and Older Adult Ministries, Discipleship Ministries, UMC

Baby Boomers through every stage of life have changed the world around them, through the sheer force of numbers and influence. At the same time, technology has offered unprecedented possibilities plus an expanded lifespan. This poses the question which is the focus of this workshop: What ways will Boomers change Aging as we now know it and in what ways will Aging change the Boomer Generation? A corollary question for the church is how to develop new forms of ministry which address this cohort when our track record has been one of missing prior opportunities. This workshop focuses upon answering these questions, offering practical resources and direction for future church leaders, and giving a broad view of the issues involved in adults living into the last quarter of life.

willDr. William (Will) Randolph is the director of the Office on Aging and Older Adult Ministries for Discipleship Ministries Agency of The United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. His ministry involves providing resources and training support for church leaders of older adult ministries, worldwide. In this position, Will also develops materials to help all persons with their lifelong process of aging, particularly the Baby Boom generation. Through ongoing research, program modeling, and best practices surveying for local churches, Dr. Randolph seeks to empower church volunteers and staff with the nuts and bolts to build community, expand disciple making opportunities, and enable faith formation. It encompasses a large number of constituents since over half of the approximately 8 million members of The United Methodist Church in the United States are 50 years of age and older.

Prior to joining the staff at the General Board of Discipleship, Dr. Randolph served as a Chaplain of a 3 Campus Continuing Retirement Community near Pittsburgh, PA, named Redstone Highlands. He has also served as a pastor of United Methodist congregations in South Carolina, Western North Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and as a student intern in Maryland. Will received his BA/BS from Duke University, studied at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC before completing his Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology of Emory University. He received his Doctor of Ministry in Aging and Spirituality from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH.


Saturday, April 9 – “Reading the Bible Orally”

The Rev. Dr. Althea Spencer Miller, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Drew Theological School

What does it mean when we say that the historical culture of biblical literature was oral? What are our assumptions when we assert that biblical literature was first circulated in oral forms? In this workshop we will explore orality in several ways. We will explore it as performance through drama and movement. Technological experiences of biblical literature through the internet, facebook, Twitter and other platforms will further our thinking on orality. Most importantly, we will explore what it means to live with an oral approach to life. Finally, we will gather these together in acts of biblical interpretation that prioritize orality as an interpretative modality.

millerRev. Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Drew Theological School, Drew University. Dr. Spencer Miller’s current research advances an anti-colonial posture as she explores orality as an alternative epistemology lived and expressed in oral-literate cultures such as the Caribbean’s. Her teaching interests include early Christian literature both canonical and extra-canonical, Africana Studies and Africana hermeneutics, supplemented by feminist, womanist, and queer theories. Her publications include: Feminist New Testament Studies: Global and Future Perspectives, co-edited with Kathleen O’Brien Wicker and Musa Dube. Recent publications include “Women and Christianity in the Caribbean: Living Past the Colonial Legacy” an essay in Women and Christianity, co-edited by Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan and Karen Jo Torjesen, and “Rethinking Orality for Biblical Studies,” in Postcolonialism and the Hebrew Bible: The Next Step, edited by Roland Boer. Prof. Spencer Miller co-chairs the “Islands, Islanders, and the Bible” SBL Unit, and is on the Editorial Board of Sapienta Logos Journal (Nigeria). She is a Minister in Residence at Church of the Village in Manhattan.


Friday, April 22 – “The Spirituality of Joy”

Dr. Angella Son, Associate Professor of Psychology and Religion, Drew Theological School

This seminar presents a spirituality of joy by examining the Beatitudes and exploring psychological analysis of joy.  It suggests a new reading of the Beatitudes that joy is the ultimate expression of our relationship to God as Christians.  It also investigates the psychological conception of joy by Heinz Kohut.  The seminar will begin and end with ten-minute meditations.

sonAngella Son is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Religion at Drew University. She received her doctor of philosophy (Ph.D) degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and was an adjunct professor in New Brunswick Theological Seminary and New York Theological Seminary before she joined the Drew University faculty in 2001. She is an ordained Presbyterian minister and a fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She has two books, Spirituality of Joy: Moving Beyond Dread and Duty, published in 2013, 기쁨의 영성, published in 2015, and has published many book chapters and articles including “Agents of Joy: A New Image of Pastoral Care,” and “Relationality in Kohut’s Psychology of the Self.” She served as the president on the steering committee and the chair of the Nominating Committee of the Society for Pastoral Theology. She currently serves on the executive committee of the AAPC Eastern Region and on the Status of Racial & Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee of AAR. She also serves on the editorial boards for several scholarly juried journals. She is the Director of Korean Pastoral Care and Counseling Program at Blanton Peal Institute and active in training both laity and ministers to promote awareness about mental health issues among and improve mental health in the Korean American.

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