The UCC’s Center for Progressive Renewal just opened registration for the next cohort of an online leadership development program called the Convergence Leadership Project. Author and national faith leader, Brian McLaren, is the director of the program, supported by Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis from Middle Collegiate Church in NY, Diana Butler Bass, Bruce Reyes-Chow, Lindsay Andreolli-Comstock, Jim Keat and others. Living in the age of intersectional movement building, we need leaders and congregations prepared to lead the way. After two years of development, CLP has proven to be a very powerful program for helping congregations make the transition from being “organized churches” to “organizing churches.”
Leaders (lay and ordained) must be nominated, interviewed and accepted into the program. We are looking for congregations with imagination, courage and capacity. Church size or location doesn’t impact the outcome of the experience – it’s more about an openness to change and awareness that a new kind of imagination is needed to move the progressive faith movement forward. We will work with applicants on pricing if that becomes an issue.
CEO, Center for Progressive Renewal & Convergence Network
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Convergence Leadership Project Equips UCC Ministers to be Movement Leaders through Congregational Renewal
In 2017, Convergence, together with the Center for Progressive Renewal, launched an innovative continuing education program for new and seasoned ministers based solely online. This program is unique for two main reasons: 1) it focuses on the work ministerial leaders need to do to move their congregations and communities from thinking to action, and 2) it seeks to equip congregational leaders with the tools to work together with their congregations and communities to do the work of the church.
“We are not training isolated leaders to do the work of the church alone. The Convergence Leadership Project works with leaders of systems and their leadership teams to create a sense of belonging and purpose for those who want to work together. We do that work across denominational and economical lines,” said Rev. Cameron Trimble, CEO of Convergence and the Center for Progressive Renewal.
For one recent CLP graduate, the program managed to equip her for each of her ministerial roles. Rev. Laura Folkwein is an ordained UCC minister currently serving at the Poverello Center as Program Manager of Housing MT Heroes, a transitional housing program for homeless veterans, at Community Congregational Church-UCC in Kalispell, and as Small Group Coordinator at UCC of Missoula. Through a series of self-selected 8-week intensives in the Convergence Leadership Project, Laura was able to craft a continuing education curriculum to meet her own unique ministerial circumstances.
“The Convergence Leadership Programs helps strengthen [participants’] identity, not as chaplains to a struggling or fading institution, but as artists and midwives imagining and giving birth to of the church of tomorrow,” said program director and author, Brian McLaren.
The CLP continues to grow due in large part to increasing interest in self-regulated adult education that speaks to relevant and timely issues and because many are still looking for continuing education that is aﬀordable and less geographically bound. For more information on the Convergence Leadership Project and how to enroll your UCC congregation as a member cohort, visit www.convergenceleadership.org.