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CMU Centre for Faith and Life

Workshops for Pastors and Ministry and Congregational Leaders

The CMU Centre for Faith and Life connects individuals, congregations, and the broader community to opportunities and resources focused on strengthening ministry capacity, theological reflection, and faith-filled living.

The following 2017-2018 workshops form one part of that commitment to resource and strengthen the church.


Upcoming Workshops

The Word Wore Red: Reimagining Biblical Preaching for the 21st Century World

How might our preaching unfold ancient texts, capture the imagination and open an encounter with the living God, whose Grand Story is still going on?

Let's face it: this is not an easy time to be a teacher of Scripture. People are busy, attention spans are short, and the Bible travels on the same device that carries Facebook and Pinterest. In this Clinic, we'll explore the power of preaching through story and image. We'll discover creative techniques for unfolding ancient texts that capture the imagination and invite encounter with the living God whose grand Story is still going on.

Resource: Meghan Good (MDiv), Pastor at Trinity Mennonite Church, Phoenix, AZ

Meghan is Teaching Pastor at Trinity Mennonite Church (Glendale, AZ). She is a graduate of Duke Divinity School (Durham, NC) and Gordon College (Wenham, MA) and is currently completing a DMin in "Preaching as Story" at Portland Seminary. Meghan is a frequent preacher and lecturer at churches and universities across the country, speaking on subjects such as biblical hermeneutics, emerging Anabaptism, and innovative preaching. She is the author of a forthcoming book on Christocentric interpretation (Herald Press, spring 2019). Meghan lives in Phoenix, AZ with a prized dinosaur bone and a ridiculously large book collection.

Wednesday, February 7

1:00–5:00 PM (includes a coffee break)
Registration Fee: $75 per person



Journeying Together: Accompanying the Aging

How might ministry leaders and caregivers accompany those in their congregations walking through the later stages of life?

The aging of loved ones can sometimes leave us feeling distressed and alone. We may feel unsure about how to respond to issues related to aging, including how we accompany those in our congregations and families who are entering the later stages of life. This workshop will explore what it can mean for church members to journey together through the later stages of life in faithful, life-giving ways, even as those stages provoke hard questions. Join an ecumenical gathering of pastors, deacons, and caregivers as we explore the hard questions and the spiritual opportunities that accompany aging.

Resource: Heather Campbell-Enns (PhD), Researcher and Educator on Aging

Heather is trained in psychosocial health across the life span. She specializes in topics related to aging, end-of-life, family systems, and resilience. A seasoned teacher, she is currently developing curriculum for the Canadian Virtual Hospice and will teach courses for CMU's psychology department, including a course on resilience in aging. An active member of Bethel Mennonite Church, Heather provides insights that are deeply rooted in her academic expertise and Christian faith.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM (includes 2 coffee breaks; lunch available for purchase)
CMU ​Conference Room, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Registration fees—Full Day: $65 per person, $50 per person when 2 or more register from same congregation; Half Day: $35 per person; Student rate: $15



Past Workshops

Better Decisions, Engaged Congregations: Facilitating Effective Decision-Making

How might leaders guide decision-making to strengthen their congregational ministry and mission?

Compared to their counterparts in the corporate world, church leaders face unique challenges when guiding decision-making: ambiguous structures of authority; a volunteer 'workforce'; and complex, value-based, potentially divisive issues. Furthermore, leaders need to balance expediency with congregational desires for meaningful participation. This workshop provides understandings, strategies and tools to effectively and confidently guide decision-making processes that ultimately result in better decisions and engaged, healthy congregations.

Resource: Vonda Plett (PhD), President of Bricolage Leadership Development

Vonda is trained in psychology, and has worked extensively in leadership development. Formerly a professor at Canadian Mennonite University, Vonda has coached leaders and provided organizational analyses in church, school, and corporate settings. She brings to her work creative energy, a sense of humour, and a deep commitment to helping each of her clients achieve their unique and desired outcomes. Vonda is active at St. Benedict's Table (Anglican Church) in Winnipeg.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (includes a coffee break)
Conference Room, CMU
Registration fees—$40 per person, $30/each if 3 or more from a church, $15 student rate


More Than a Job: The Lifecycle of Pastoral Employment

How might specific employment practices strengthen care for ministry leaders and for the church's mission?

Congregations employ pastors and other leaders to serve Christ in the church and beyond. Sometimes, congregations fail to fully consider the intersections between employment and Christian service, and how to implement best employment practices. This workshop offers a careful review of congregational employment assumptions and practices—including hiring, performance appraisal and management, and resignation or termination—in order to care well for leaders and strengthen congregational ministry.

Resource: Karen Grace-Pankratz (MEd), Director of Human Resources at Mennonite Central Committee Canada

Karen has worked in human resources for over 25 years in a cross-section of industries including public sector, agribusiness, retail and not-for-profit, in both unionized and non-unionized environments. Her passion is to encourage organizations to demonstrate their mission and values in every plan, policy and activity, and then to see those same values reflected in each staff person and work environment. Karen sits on the executive board of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches and previously was on the personnel committee of the MB Church of Manitoba. She has held various leadership roles in her home congregation, Fort Garry MB Church, Winnipeg.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (includes a coffee break)
CMU ​Conference Room, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Registration fees—$40 per person, $30/each if 3 or more from a church, $15 student rate
Register online (click below), or register at the door



From Taking Sides to Pulling Together: A Fresh Approach to Congregational Tensions

How might church conflict move from polarizing to transforming?

Congregations often struggle with issues that polarize and divide their community. Some issues are so complex that typical problem-solving approaches can cause further polarization. This workshop provides a fresh approach to understanding and addressing chronic, contentious congregational issues. Participants will practice an approach to congregational conflict that promotes transformation and collaborative change, while preserving important values and traditions.

Resource: David Falk (MA), Partner in Facilitated Solutions: Mediators and Conflict Management Specialists

David is a seasoned conflict resolution practitioner, with training and expertise in workplace and community disputes. He has served The Meeting Place Church as elder and interim executive pastor, taught at Menno Simons College, and is a trainer with Mediation Services. David brings together practical wisdom, humour and real world examples that inspire new ways of working with the perennial tensions faced by congregations. David is part of St. Benedict's Table (Anglican), Winnipeg.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (includes a coffee break)
CMU ​Conference Room, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Registration fees—$40 per person, $30/each if 3 or more from a church, $15 student rate
Register online (click below), or register at the door


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