Sharing the good news about clergy peer learning at UCC General Synod

Jul 16, 2013 | Pastoral Excellence Network

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The Pastoral Excellence Network (PEN) was honored to be invited to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Long Beach, California, from June 28 to July 2, 2013. The biennial national gathering of the denomination was attended by just under 3,000 delegates, staff, and ecumenical visitors from all parts of the United States and some foreign nations. Chris Braudaway-Bauman and Larry Peers, directors of PEN, led a workshop introducing many pastors to the work of the Pastoral Excellence Network and giving them a chance to experience elements of a Clergy Community of Practice.

Hundreds of visitors to the PEN booth in the Exhibit Hall joined us in conversation exploring the question: “What does pastoral excellence look like?” Many of the people we spoke with expressed enthusiasm about the possibility of becoming part of a support and learning group linked to our Network. People from 28 UCC conferences signed up to receive our newsletter. In addition to meeting new people, it was wonderful to see old friends who are already engaged in ongoing and new pastoral excellence programs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Earlier in June, Chris and Larry led an event for authorized ministers at the Annual Meeting of the Ohio Conference, UCC, and trained 50 facilitators and facilitator trainers, extending the movement for pastoral excellence further, in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Indeed, the momentum from both of these efforts will enable more pastors to find opportunities for support and learning in clergy communities of practice in more places.

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