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Past Cohorts

2013

The Circle
Flying By the Seat of Our Pants
Heart and Spirit
Holy, Whole, and Bold
Pop Tarts
The Story Continues
Well Women
The Whinrig Six

2012

Belonging to the Body
Families in Ministry
First Callers
inteGR8
Male Spirituality
Preacher as Artist
Reverent Writers
Soulful Seasons, City Living
Puget Sound Young Clergy
Sacred Spaces
Simply Divine
Society of Pastoral Excellence
Stone Rings
The Table

2010

Belhar Confession
Christianity and Empire
Hardcore Christianity
Lemmings
Liminality
Pathways to Pastoral Excellence
Preacher as Artist
Preaching With Fire
Slow Arts
Soil & Seed Garden Ministry
Soul Friends
Spirituality of Terroir
Transformers: Pastors in Disguise
Voice Lessons
Wicked Good Maine
Women in Charge

2009

Art & the Pastoral Imagination
Artistic Players
Cross Cutters 2
Fearless Friends of the Sacred
Health Systems Group
Hope Springs 2
Living Tradition
Los Companeros en Cristo
Mothers in Ministry
MULE
New Wineskins 2
PEACE
Soulful Sojourners
Theory U Group
Undying Metaphors
Way of the Pilgrim

2007

Spirited Women
The Jam Team
Women Dancing 
Colegas 2
Hildegreen
Mission in Ministry Sisters
Cowbell Theologians
Altared Newbies
Sankofa

2006

West Cornwall Group
Cross Cutters
Urban Pastoral Vision
New Wineskins
Hope Springs Eternal
Cretans Clearwater Revival
Daughters of Divinity
Six Pack

2005

Pilgrims in the Lands of Enchantment
Grupo de Colegas
Jets
Cinema Toast
Salt Bay Survivors
Oklahoma Pastor Theologian
STM
When Pigs Fly

2004

Abiding Presence
Impact of Technology
Out of the Whirlwind
Circle of Shalom
Spectrum
Community Ministry Catalysts

2003

Wednesday Morning Ecumenical
Austin Sacred Sisters
ALMA - Austin Hispanic Pastors
Syracuse Hispanic Pastors


Abiding Presence

The Abiding Presence Cohort Group is comprised of six Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) clergy women living in five different states. They are interested in the balance between body and spirit, intellect and heart and the search for understanding of what it means to embody spirituality. They plan four retreats. At each retreat they will work with an expert in one of the following four areas: Authentic Movement; Pottery; Story Telling; and Drama. They want to share what they discover by coordinating and facilitating workshops and retreats in their local settings.

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ALMA

A formal study in the area of pastoral care and counseling with Hispanics using the Clinical Pastoral Education approach.
ALMA is comprised of eight pastors from different denominations who meet twice a month for six hours. They use the instructional materials of the Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (Eirene International), a Latin American pastoral agency. In addition to their semi-monthly meetings they plan two marriage and family enrichment retreats led by Dr. Jorge Maldonado. Their Teaching Fellow is the Rev. Daniel Dávila, Director of Asociación para la Educación Teológica Hispana.

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Altared Newbies

The Altared Newbies focus on the idea that God gave humans senses so that they may have an awareness of creation.  These four ministers are travelling together to unfamiliar locations in order to experience the unknown.  By means of their shared experiences, they will explore the spiritual geography of a particular time at a particular place that is vastly different from their usual mundane settings.  Their most profound travel experience is happening now, during this conference, as they are thousands of miles away, exploring Rome.  They will investigate how their occupational tasks as clergy are profoundly shaped through drawing on their own creative resources and their reactions to new experiences.

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Art & the Pastoral Imagination

Knowing that art and creative endeavors enhance pastoral skills, these four ministers from Episcopal, United Methodist and Presbyterian (USA) churches are meeting to explore art and its use in worship.  They will travel to Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia and Tempe to experience how different congregations use art as an integral part of their worship practices.  Recognizing that they themselves are also artists, as a culmination of their explorations and discoveries, this group will prepare works of visual art that will be shared with congregations as well as at least one article they will submit to a professional journal.

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Artistic Players

Four women ministers in the San Francisco area have taken Paul seriously and are working to transform and renew their minds, realizing that the transformative journey toward pastoral excellence involves risks, moving beyond what is comfortable as they embrace the mystery of God.  Entering into artistic play will push them beyond their comfort zones; but they have covenanted to hold one another in these vulnerable places and respect how the Holy Spirit encounters them in such moments.

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Austin Sacred Sisters

Exploring the history of Celtic Christianity and its outgrowth in the Iona Community.
 
The Austin Sacred Sisters is a group of ten Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) clergy women who attended Austin Seminary together in the '90s and gather annually. They now live in Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois and California. Their commitment is to gather in spirit during daily morning and evening prayers, using Celtic prayer resources from the Iona Community. The Rev. Dr. Michael Jinkins is their Teaching Fellow. They will conclude their two years in The College of Pastoral Leaders with a trip to Scotland to visit historic Celtic sites and spend time in study and prayer at the Iona abbey.

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Belhar Confession Study Group

The Belhar Confession group is composed of seven Christian Reformed Church pastors serving in Ohio and Michigan. They are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and in various stages of ministry.  They come together to support each other and, as a beginning, to study the Belhar Confession in order to discuss how they can preach it, teach it, and practice its statements about unity, reconciliation and justice.

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Cinema Toast

Drawing on a shared affinity for films and a desire to maintain the collegial relationships that were formed during our seminary experience in Austin, seven Episcopal priests (now in ministry from Virginia to California) have collaborated since 2005 as Cinema Toast.  We gather monthly via conference call  to “check-in,” attend to one another, and converse about films we have viewed in our respective locales.

The scope of our conversations was varied—ranging from the occasional glancing review of a film’s value as entertainment to an in-depth probing of the filmmaker’s artistic intent, use of cinematographic methods for effect, and the theological tenets to be gleaned from this cultural medium. We constantly had before us three principle objectives: to support one another, to be aware of the hermeneutical lenses with which we view films, and to discover relevant connections between the world of modern film and the world of parish ministry. All of us have integrated elements of our “Cinema Toast” experience into our work as pastors, teachers and preachers. Our film “library” includes Maria Full of Grace, V for Vendetta, Chocolat, Good Night and Good Luck, Capote, Syriana, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Narnia, Crash, A Girl in a Café, Jarhead, Da Vinci Code, Munich, Brokeback Mountain, An Inconvenient Truth, and Taxi Driver. Two members of our cohort have chosen to publish film reviews, including Bonnie Malone, and Torey Lightcap.


Near the end of our two year project, the group convened a weeklong gathering in Manhattan in conjunction with the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. We immersed ourselves in the New York film scene while enjoying something of a wonderful reunion and R&R session. It was a fabulous experience!

We have now begun the next phase of our collegiality…no longer with regular conference calls for the “film-of-the-month” club, but our communication with each other continues with an email group and frequent phone calls to one another, and we are plotting another film pilgrimage for 2008.

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Circle of Shalom

As a group of women in high profile ministerial positions their focus is on building a rich, trusting community in order to develop spiritual practices, strategies for self-care, and increase supervisory/managerial competencies.
 
The Circle of Shalom Cohort is made up of five Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) supervisors from different denominations in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. They will explore these issues from feminist perspectives. They will meet in person on a quarterly basis either in Austin or in Dallas, and gather monthly either on-line or via conference call. They plan two longer retreats, one in New Mexico and one in Tuscany. They will share what they've learned by writing an article for publication in the Journal of Pastoral Care and hope to conduct a workshop about their cohort experience at the ACPE Annual conference.

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Colegas 2

The cohort group Colegas 2 is a bilingual group of eight ministers from Texas who aim to expand and enrich the life and doings of the church.  Colegas 2 will visit churches in the Rio Grande Valley and experience these areas’ growth first-hand.  The group also pushes for the creation and fortification of a pastoral community founded upon confidentiality and trust.  To attain this, Colegas 2 has allotted time for rest and recreation in order to strengthen their ministerial relationships.  The cohort group also strives to become familiar with and apply technological tools in order to further the growth of the church.

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Community Ministry Catalysts

The focus of their work in The College of Pastoral Leaders is the exploration of the existing interdependence between a congregation/ministry context, the community in which it resides and the leaders who serve them.  The Community Ministry Catalyst Group consists of seven Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastors serving a variety of ministry settings in the San Antonio area. In their ministries they face a marked disconnect between congregational membership and the surrounding neighborhoods.

They are convinced that pastoral excellence demands the capacity to understand and engage each of these arenas in order to define and articulate a common hope for transformation and well-being. In addition to their monthly meetings they plan a seminar in Central America to learn from minister colleagues who live in more economically challenging circumstances. They hope to share what they learn by offering workshops within their presbytery's annual mission conference; offering a mini-seminar through Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and serving as consultants for churches and agencies of their presbytery.

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Cowbell Theologians

Eight ministers have joined forces to form a cohort group, the likes of which have never been seen.  They call themselves the Cowbell Theologians, and they yearn to harness the powers of theological nerddom to create a symbiosis between the spiritual and the intellectual aspects of the mind.  The Cowbell Theologians plan to meet four times a year—twice in person for three days per meeting, once online, and once in a recreational gathering at which family and friends will be invited, in order to sustain a balance between the theological and the interpersonal.

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Cretan’s Clearwater Revival

Seven Texan ministers in the Church of Christ plan to travel in the footsteps of Paul’s missionary journey through Greece as a way to deepen their friendships and broaden their understandings of ministry.

These men will meet once a month and have an annual retreat. CCR looks forward to sharing what they learn with their local Ministerial Alliances.

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Cross Cutters

This is a group of ministers all of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  They are bound by ties of friendship, family, denomination and their desire to carve and create fine works of liturgical art that can be used by their congregations.   Under the direction and mentoring of woodworking masters, each minister will tailor a piece of wood, and share their creative process with the other members of the cohort.  These minister-craftsmen believe their endeavors to create pull them into a closer understanding of a creative God.  Sharing what they create with their congregations, invites those they serve to plumb the depths of a generative God.

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Cross Cutters 2

This is a group of ministers all of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  They are bound by ties of friendship, family, denomination and their desire to carve and create fine works of liturgical art that can be used by their congregations.   Under the direction and mentoring of woodworking masters, each minister will tailor a piece of wood, and share their creative process with the other members of the cohort.  These minister-craftsmen believe their endeavors to create pull them into a closer understanding of a creative God.  Sharing what they create with their congregations, invites those they serve to plumb the depths of a generative God.

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Daughters of Divinity

Pastoral leaders must blend strength and resilience with the magnificent God-given exhilaration of their divine calls in order to travel well on the pastoral journey. The Daughters of Divinity is a group of six senior pastors and preachers, denominational leaders, spiritual writers of popular journals and leading pastoral experts in world missions, church administration and evangelism.

These gifted pastors, seeking replenishment to the joy of Christ’s call, will share a journey of spiritual formation to reignite their God-given passion for excellence in ministry. Their approach to renewal will include the experiences of expert theologians; an annual study of a theological resource; and a pilgrimage to biblically significant ancient lands for inquiry, reflection and rest. These ministers will listen for God while they travel to Turkey to visit places of the resurrected Jesus, Paul, Barnabas, Timothy and Silas and the seven churches of the Revelation. The Daughters of Divinity believe that, “Our God doesn’t call the perfect; God perfects those God calls. God equips them with everything good for doing God’s will.” Journeying and sharing together will foster these women as, “daughters of encouragement” to each other, just as Barnabas, true to his name, was “a son of encouragement” to the evangelist, Paul.

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Disciples Transforming Pastors

Four Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ministers are working together to discern what role mission plays in the context of the re-invigoration and transformation of churches and their ministers.  They are working from the premise that, fundamental to transforming leadership, and thereby congregations, “is a passion for transforming mission: ‘the result of God’s initiative, rooted in God’s purposes to restore and heal creation.’” [D. Guder.]  As a group, they are sharing their passion to speak the healing Gospel; they are receiving the transforming gifts of deep relationship, restoration, and healing; and then plan to translate their transformative experience for an ever-expanding circle of ministry settings.

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Empire Slayers

Empire Slayers is group of four ELCA Lutheran clergy in San Antonio, Texas.  They are studying the relationship between the Roman Empire and the early church, and how that relationship is reflected in the Scriptures and in the life and practices of the early church.  They are seeing to make connections between the days of the early church and our own time.

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Fearless Friends of the Sacred

Four Denver area ministers, Presbyterian and Lutheran, are exploring what it is to be ‘conspirational,’ i.e., synergistic with God, working for Good in all things.  These men are in vocations other than congregational leadership: hospital, hospice, and interfaith relationships, working in the roles of pastor, priest and prophet to interpret God’s spirit in the world.  They are deeply exploring their pastoral identities through self-discovery and authentic relationships.

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Grupo de Colegas

Meets six times a year to build a confidential community of care and encouragement, learn computer skills and renew their visions of ministry.

Grupo de Colegas is comprised of seven ELCA and Presbyterian Church (USA) pastors who work with Spanish speaking congregations in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. They will visit one another’s congregations so they may think creatively about the strengths and weaknesses of those communities. This group will work with Teaching Fellow, Professor Ruben Armendariz, Consultant for Church Development of Mission Presbytery.

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Hardcore Christianity

Hardcore Christianity is a group of four colleagues who seek to reach out to and reveal God’s kingdom to those who have been disenfranchised from the church and religion in general, and to offer them a medium where they may have a legitimate voice to express themselves.  The group will use the stories of the disenfranchised to explore ways to re-imagine what “church” would look like if it were to open its doors fully and without condition.

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Hildegreen

The Hildegreen group consists of six women who are interested in the aspects of leadership in the church by studying closely the work of Hildegard of Bingen, a leader in the 11th century church.  The Hildegreen group will meet in person seven times over a two-year period, with leadership being rotated between the members in order to practice flexibility, responsibility, and a balance between the professional and the personal.  The group will travel to Bingen, Germany in order to experience the actual setting that Hildegard was engrained in and practiced her leadership.

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Hope Springs Eternal

If Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”, one of our goals is to dive deeply into the Biblical texts and suck out the meaning for our life together.

Based on the experiences of some of our mentors in ministry, Hope Springs Eternal gathers “around the Word” on a regular basis. We do that by each of us preparing to lead conversations around Bible texts and then the others contributing freely as to their meaning for us today and for the people to whom we minister.  These discussions are intentional and can be intense; but they can also be whimsical and wacky as we pursue the rabbit down the hole.  More than anything, our conversations are meaningful.

We spend time in worship and prayer, bringing along our instruments and voices to praise a great and loving God, and sometimes dropping in on a local worship service or devotional experience.  We support one another with good talk, good advice, and good listening.  We have fun in our times of relaxation, the occasional bicycle ride, or round of golf.  But mostly we simply enjoy being with one another, reconnecting, and refreshing ourselves for the ministries before us.  And always looking forward to our next time together. 

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Hope Springs 2

For several years, this group of solo pastors has met to prepare sermons and discuss the practicalities of leading congregations.  Today they shift their focus to more introspective endeavors. They will become pastors for each other, creating a safe space to reflect on their calls and devote time for rest and play.  This cohort will engage mentors who excel at pastoral care of others and self.

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Impact of Technology

Reflecting theologically on areas such as global economics, the human genome project, and changes in the field of high-tech.
The group is comprised of six Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastors from Oklahoma, Texas and North Carolina. These are disciplines that affect their congregations but about which the pastors know little. They plan four retreats with an expert in a particular discipline as well as a homilitician who will guide them in interpreting the new information theologically.

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Lemmings

The Lemmings are seven Lay Ecclesial Ministers (“L-E-M-ings”) in the Roman Catholic Church who are men and women, married and single, who have sensed a deep calling to Church ministry.  They have made major life commitments to become educated at the graduate level, and serve in church leadership roles.  Because of their unique position in the Catholic Church, there are few pastoral support resources available for them, so they are creating a safe and supportive environment for mutual support in their ministries.

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Liminality

The Liminality cohort describes themselves in this way: “We stand at the threshold of shared learning and spiritual experience.  We value the possibility of interaction between various cohort members in order to discern new ways of ministering to one another in the context of Hospice Chaplaincy.  We look forward to journeying together into the ambiguity of the unknown.”

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Living Tradition

The five ministers in this cohort grew to be friends during their time in the Center for Theological Inquiry’s Pastor Theological Program.  Although they represent different denominations (United Methodist, Presbyterian (USA), and the United Church of Christ), each longs to remain theologically informed, pastorally relevant and engaged in ecumenical conversations.  They will keep in touch with each other and what they are reading through blogs, email discussions and hiking retreats where they will engage their bodies as well as their minds.

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Los Companeros en Cristo

These eight southwestern Lutheran ministers seek to define pastoral excellence by learning the language and more about the culture of the Mexican and Central Americans around them.  They will study independently with computer-based language tutorials and together at a language immersion school in Mexico or Costa Rica.

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Ministry in Missions Sisters

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The Ministry in Missions Sisters are five women who desire to live the scriptures and walk among the people as Jesus did.  The group intends to establish good health practices and Sabbath-incorporating lifestyles in the areas in which they volunteer.  In order to accomplish these goals, the Ministry in Missions Sisters will meet face-to-face two to four times a year, and confer via phone and online prior to each of their volunteer activities.  The group aims to volunteer domestically at food banks, orphanages, and the like, and internationally in Brazil.

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Moms in Ministry: the Balancing Act

Four mothers in ministry are looking to discover ways in which they can best function in ministry while also being the best parents and partners they can be.  They live throughout the country in places that include Kauai, Hawaii; Lake Forest Park, Washington; Washington, DC; and Marlboro, New York.  The group will travel to at least three of these locations.  They will invite speakers on Hawaiian spirituality and practices, participate in rejuvenating retreat activities, explore how motherhood relates to ministry, faith, etc., and revel in the beauty of nature.

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M.U.L.E. (Multicultural Urban Leadership, Emerging…!)

Five men from different ethnic backgrounds, including African-American, Hispanic, and Anglo have come together from Austin and San Antonio.  The group will meet for support and accountability so they may enable each other to thrive in ministry. They will travel to different ministry settings for in-depth explorations and inquiries so they may better understand the various emerging models of ministerial leadership.  Some of these trips will include visiting multicultural / urban settings in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.

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New Wineskins

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A group focusing on their twenty year journey from seminary to successful ministry.

The New Wineskins cohort is a group of six clergywomen serving in six states.  They serve in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United  Church of Christ.    They will explore the leadership qualities and skills that made their leadership in the church effective, and will try to identify qualities and sources of well-being that equip them for their next twenty years of ministry.  Dr. Stephanie Paulsell, author of the book Honoring The Body, and other leaders will work with the New Wineskins as they explore their pasts, ponder their futures, and write on the subject of  women's leadership and transformation. 

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New Wineskins 2

Five clergywomen who have supported each other through many of life’s most challenging times, wonder how they might use the wisdom they’ve gleaned in the process of supporting each other individually to create spaces where they might create such environments for change and transformation in their faith communities, their work places and in the world?”  The group will meet for two retreats they will design that will help them hone their questions and talents.  They will join with other women at either The Berkana Institute or the Art of Hosting Conversational Leadership Program. 

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Oklahoma Pastor Theologian

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Examining Christian communities in the context of another culture (Indonesia in particular) in order to gain insight into the essence of Christian community and cross-cultural perspectives on the message of the Gospel.  The Oklahoma Pastor Theologian Cohort is comprised of five pastors from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) tradition who are all serving churches in Oklahoma. They hired Dr. Arun Jones, Assistant Professor of Mission and Evangelism at Austin Presbyterian Seminary, as their teaching fellow. Dr. Jones will accompany this group to the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali to meet with local Christian communities and indigenous theologians in order to better understand the unique aspects of the Gospel and culture in their settings. In addition to this trip they will meet four times annually.They hope to become catalysts for energizing local, regional and international mission in Indian Nations Presbytery of which they are clergy members.

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Out of the Whirlwind

Centers their group around spiritual formation, renewal, pastoral care and social justice.  The Out of the Whirlwind Cohort consists of seven clergy (three men and four women) from three different traditions, located in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. They intend to be a group of mutual support and friendship. They will gather monthly for day-long meetings. Five of their meetings will feature guest speakers, spiritual directors or artists. They plan a longer retreat to New Mexico where to volunteer at a border ministry. They will end their two years together with a pilgrimage to Spain. They want to encourage and guide other ministers in their geographic areas to create their own peer groups.

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Pathways to Pastoral Excellence

The purpose of this group is to help encourage long-term ministerial friendships between clergy couples in ways that will strengthen their ministries and enhance their abilities to lead.  They are exploring ways to restore and reclaim the activities of their lives that remind them that they are “whole people rather than narrow versions” of themselves.  These couples will remind each other that it is okay to be creative and have fun, and that through healthy relationships and friendships, they will become better leaders and more caring pastors.

P.E.A.C.E. (Pacific Ecumenical Adventurers Contemplating a new Era)

Five leaders of various traditions, including Roman Catholic, American Baptist, Unitarian, United Methodist, and Episcopalian, and are lesbian, straight, gay, partnered, married, celibate, male and female, aged 41-65 are seeking to deepen and sustain learning in pastoral leadership and best practices in ministry, as well as renew their spirits by engaging in quarterly retreats over the next two years.  They will meet once every three months for 2-3 day retreats in the Pacific Northwest.  These retreats will be planned and facilitated by members of the cohort and outside facilitators, and will include individual reflection, prayer, group reflection and support, feasting and play.  Their celebrated diversity they believe will contribute to the spiritual renewal they seek.

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Pilgrims in the Land of Enchantment

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Spiritual beings on human journeys.  The Pilgrims in the Lands of Enchantment Cohort is comprised of seven New Mexican Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) clergy. Their hope is to become more faithful, healthy and balanced pastors as they experience the sacred in the ordinary on their planned pilgrimages. Each month they will visit some place of religious, historical, anthropological, or aesthetic significance. They will learn from regional authors and experts in various disciplines. They plan a sojourn to Oaxaca, Mexico. They will create a DVD photo journal in order to teach what they will experience together.

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Preaching With Fire

The goal of the Preaching With Fire cohort is to create an intentionally diverse community of ministers where they can support and challenge each other “as we love God’s people by proclaiming God’s Word to them.”  During pastoral formation they met people whose preaching they admire and whose feedback they trust; this group is “seeking a way to form a homiletic support system,” even though geographically separated.  These four ministers (African-American and white, gay and straight, conservative and progressive) are using Web 2.0 technologies, including video, to communicate intensely and often to hone their preaching skills.  They will also seek out and work with homiletical mentors to improve and explore new approaches to preaching.

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SANKOFA

The Sankofa is a mythical bird that flies forward into the future while looking back with an egg in its beak symbolizing the past.  The word translates to “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot,” which is taken to heart by the Sankofa cohort.  The group wishes to look to, and work with, the future, feeling that the church is in a time of great change, whilst still holding fast to tradition.  A key goal of the Sankofa group is to meet with younger ministers in order to share teachings between the different ages of the church clergy.  Sankofa will travel to Bethlehem, Israel in order to see first-hand the church surviving and bearing witness in the changing culture.

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Six-Pack

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Encouraging mutual support in an effort to affect their practices of ministry to better serve their multi-cultural renewing congregation. Six Presbyterian Church (USA) pastors who serve on the staff of an urban Oakland, California church look to build a “beloved community” among themselves. At monthly meetings and two retreats they will study non-violent spirituality, political activism, multi-cultural approaches to Biblical interpretation and non-traditional artistic expression.

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Slow Arts

Five female Episcopal priests, who live and serve in the northeast, are exploring the notion of cultivating the ‘slow arts’ as a spiritual practice.  These include yoga, music, arts and crafts, whole foods cooked from scratch, experiencing nature’s goodness in the present moment and others; these are employed as “a spiritual antidote to the frenzied techno-life that most of us are forced to lead.”  They will seek balance and sustainability through meetings, retreats and exploring the richness and importance of the simple moments and activities of life.

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Soil and Seed Garden Ministry

This is a Seattle area group of four ministers who come together based on one vision: to support and teach Churches in planting gardens on their properties.  They will learn about simpler and healthier living through the production of individual gardens by beginning to learn how to grow simple vegetables for themselves, and then expand to churches in various communities.  They are identifying twelve African American churches where they will present this idea along with the historical factors and significance surrounding gardening for those of African descent.  They will select one Sunday during this time with the theme “Soil and Seed Sunday.”

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Soul Friends

The Soul Friends are five Texas chaplains who are colleagues with Lifeline Chaplaincy, a non-profit ministry with the Churches of Christ. Using the Anam-Cara model of Celtic Christianity, they seek to support each other for the purpose of spiritual growth, both individually and collectively, and thereby replenish their spiritual and emotional resources.  Through reading, retreat and reflection, they will foster pastoral excellence so they may continue to serve others in their spiritually and emotionally challenging ministries.

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Soulful Sojourners

Four female clergy from Georgia seek to strengthen their personal relationships, health and well-being, and to serve others less fortunate outside their church walls through domestic and international mission efforts.  The group will meet in Atlanta, Georgia, Cartago, Costa Rica, Austin, Texas, and New Rochelle, New York.

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Spectrum

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The focus of their work is on leadership.  The Spectrum Cohort includes seven Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) clergy men in the Houston area. They explore the tradition as well as the spirituality of Christian leadership. They want to discern what energizes and what depletes them as pastors and people. They work to enhance their skills for ministry as well as assess their aptitude for a variety of ministry opportunities in a rapidly changing ministry environment and culture. In addition to their once a month meetings with teaching fellow, Janet Maykus, they plan two weekend-long gatherings with a guest theologian, sociologist, psychotherapist or storyteller. They will share their insights at gatherings of Presbytery and Synod executives to encourage the consideration of the importance of peer learning.

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Spirited Women

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They are interested in understanding spiritual formation, living out spiritual renewal, and building relationships with one another for mutual support and encouragement.
In addition to their monthly on-line meetings to discuss readings on Eugene Peterson’s series on spiritual formation, these eight Presbyterian (U.S.A.) pastors will meet annually with Rev. Peterson near his home inLakeside, Montana.

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Spirituality of Terroir

Four central plains ministers, Christian Church and Methodist, are expanding on the associations of terroir, the “taste of place,” to consider how understanding the food, farming, environmental sustainability, food distribution and nutrition of distinctly different geographic places can analogously inform and ground the practice of ministry and congregational witness.  Through travel to four different places, to work and study with those who are most in touch with each specific terroir, they seek more clearly to discover their own authentic selves and their unique gifts in order to serve more fully in their own particular ministries.

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STM

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STM ponders creativity through song writing, poetry, narrative, metal sculpting, fly fishing and reflective thinking around a full table of good food and strumming guitars. It is through this that they focus on developing an intersection of fine arts, spiritual discipline and politics.

The STM group is a bunch of clergy that few people would want to let out of New Mexico or Texas, although a couple of them have made an escape of sorts  (their whereabouts are undisclosed, but they keep coming back).  This group gets together about once a year in what they call a safe setting, although many others would find it threatening as all get-out. They share tales of good times, lost loves, deep longings, and cherished hopes.  And they seek to wring out of these experiences some theological truths that help keep them true to a calling to serve God, taste the finest single malt scotch and find the perfect piece of pie.  To see them one might assume they are an unruly and irreverent lot (and you might well be right!), but to be in their presence is to discover a section of the banquet table that is filled with ribaldry, grace and good tunes.

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Syracuse Hispanic Pastors

Cultivating effective pastoral care within the Hispanic population.
 
The Syracuse Hispanic Pastors Group is a group of eight Pentecostal pastors in Syracuse, New York. Six of the members are clergy couples. They meet once a month for three hours and use the resource "El Consejo Terapéutico: Manual para Pastores y Consejeros" by Pablo Polishuk. Their Teaching Fellow is The Reverend David Pacinski, a Hospice Chaplain in Syracuse. They will gather practical information about community resources, improve their skills in counseling and pastoral care, and better understand the concepts and practices of effective conflict resolution and program planning and implementation.

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Tera Pastora

This group of five men will create a nourishing context for the exploration of the transforming and quieting aspects of nature. They hope the power of the earth will deepen their sense of worship and will provide a background for deeper intimacy in their friendships. The group will meet monthly (by phone and in person). Their major retreat will be in Ireland which will serve as a climactic experience for the group.  They will focus on aspects of space, water, wind, green, and earth.

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The Jam Team

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Seven United Methodist clergy from North Dakota embarking on the development of personal fitness programs by undergoing annual physical exams, consulting with a nutritionist and joining a fitness facility.

They want to develop a healthier understanding of self care and create an intentional practice that will improve their health emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. They will use A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader as their basic daily spiritual formation resource. Gathering once a month to discuss their readings and check in on their physical goals, they will also go on a quarterly retreat, utilizing a teaching fellow who will focus on a particular dimension of self-care.

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The Jets

Developing ways to share what they are learning about unity within diversity in the context of a larger community.  The Jets is an ecumenical group of eleven pastors in the town of Bastrop, Texas. Denominations represented are: The Episcopal Church, Southern Baptist, United Methodist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of Christ, Missouri Synod Lutheran, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Assembly of God and an interdenominational congregation. For over six years this diverse group has met weekly for breakfast tacos. Despite their theological diversity, they are bound by a deep commitment to ministry and the strong sense of the Imago Dei they see in one another. As members of the College of Pastoral Leaders, they will strengthen the friendships that have sustained them through conflicts in their congregations, health and family crises, and questions of vocation. The Jets is planning several retreats as well as a trip to Turkey and Greece where they will retrace the footsteps of the Apostle Paul.

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The Preacher as Artist

The entire name of the cohort is The Preacher as Artist – the Sermon as Collage.  These five ministers, of four denominations and five states, are pursuing the analogies between the preacher and the working artist, both of whom shape an idea and a message from an honest place within, and then publicly unveil it.  Using the metaphor of collage, they are exploring their sermons using collage-element descriptors.  What is the canvas, i.e., the background-setting?  What are the scraps, fragments and pieces of material, i.e., the scripture, personal narrative, the hymn connections?   What are the colors, i.e., justice, or eschatology, or exegesis?  Through readings, discussions, recordings of story-telling, and collage-making, they are encouraging each other to open to the creativity of the sermon.

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The Salt Bay Survivors

During their time with The College of Pastoral Leaders they will focus on exploring and experiencing Sabbath rest as a spiritual discipline; nurturing one another’s passion for ministry; and supporting one another in their roles as members of particular families.  The Salt Bay Survivors Cohort consists of five pastors in the United Church of Christ who serve congregations in Maine. Having been in pastoral ministry for many years, they understand themselves as “survivors” and recognize the importance of providing a safe, healthy haven for one another. They currently gather several Thursday mornings a month at the Salt Bay Café. They plan quarterly gatherings which may include spouses and partners; a yearly retreat; and the annual conference in Austin.

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The Way of the Pilgrim

Six women from four states have coalesced into the group The Way of the Pilgrim.  These ministers are focused on all aspects of pilgrimage, aiming their efforts specifically on Christian pilgrimage.  The Way of the Pilgrim is a group interested in the historical, spiritual, contextual, and cultural aspects of Christian pilgrimage.  The group will meet three times in two years.  Initially they will meet to prepare for and study their pilgrimage.  They will then meet a second time to undertake their pilgrimage, and will then meet a third time to celebrate and reflect upon their pilgrimage, and to look towards the future for further pilgrimage opportunities.

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Theory U Group

The Theory U Group is a collection of five individuals from four different states who formed a peer group after eight months of discussions and a planning retreat.  This group intends to focus on difficulties associated with integrating the traditions of theological work, while maintaining a healthy relationship with the context and the times.  The Theory U Group plans to incorporate many of the ideas of Peter Senge et al.’s book, Presence.  The group has planned three retreats and a pilgrimage to Maine, and intends to create ongoing web journals and online resources.

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Undying Metaphors

The Undying Metaphors group is four young ministers from Duke who feel that the church is no longer speaking to its audience, so much as talking at them.  They believe the church uses metaphors that were rendered obsolete long ago, although their messages hold true.  The Undying Metaphors group intends to put these old metaphors into practical terms, making them more acceptable by today’s young minds.  The group’s design includes traveling to a vineyard to delve into the wine metaphor, going to a bakery in order to probe the bread and yeast metaphor, and exploring a local fort to metaphorically explore peace-making and war-waging. Check out the Undying Metaphors video here.

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Urban Pastoral Vision

Combining the study of contemporary church leadership theories and the leadership techniques of Fortune 500 companies.

The Urban Pastoral Vision cohort is a group of six urban pastors in Central Texas representing the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Methodist, and independent Baptist traditions.  They hope to equip, educate, lead and challenge one another so that they may become more vibrant and visionary leaders of their congregations. This group will meet at least twice a month and work together during two retreats. They hope to present what they learn to at least 100 small and urban churches.

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Voice Lessons

The Voice Lessons group see themselves as “clergy moms re-discovering their voice through the power of the written word.”  Knowing that “a well written sermon can transform life,” these five Presbyterians are on a quest “to find the transformative voice within us that inspires love, change and a new-found lust for life.”  They are meeting to read and write and challenge each other to grow.  Together they will learn to face difficulties and joys honestly, and use their writing as a transformative outlet.  They will work with a writing coach and other Christian writers to help them discover and hone their own creativities and talents.

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Wednesday Morning Ecumenical Group

Work centering on the spirituality of clergy wellness.
The Wednesday Morning Ecumenical Group is a group of eight clergy from different faith traditions who have met weekly for more than ten years. They believe that clergy wellness does not happen alongside spirituality, but is inextricably intertwined with it. They plan several retreats to help them combine the inner work of retreat with the outer work of study, discussion and collaborative writing. They hope to publish articles, a book, and design workshops around this theme. The Rev. Dr. Joe Phelps from Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, KY is their teaching fellow.

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West Cornwall

Setting out to explore the roots of their Anglican tradition.

The West Cornwall cohort is comprised of five Episcopal priests living in five states. Prior to becoming a College of Pastoral Leaders cohort group, they met for years for annual retreat and monthly conference calls. As a cohort in the College of Pastoral Leaders, they will continue with this agenda as well as add two additional retreats each year. They hope time away from the "tyranny of the present" will add depth to their holy friendships. The West Cornwall cohort members will explore the roots of their Anglican tradition as they travel to Canturbury, England. Spiritual refreshment and reflection will take place in the Christ in the Desert Benedictine monastery in New Mexico. This group will write a collection of essays regarding their common experiences. 

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When Pigs Fly

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Combining knowledge, heart, experience and praxis in an effort to lead more effectively and help their congregations reach their ministry potential.  The When Pigs Fly Cohort is made up of nine ministers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) serving congregations in Grace Presbytery. All of these men serve large churches whose growth has reached its threshold in the past several years. They want to explore, through the pursuit of excellence in preaching, self-awareness, staff development and strategic leadership style, ways to move their congregations on to the next level of growth and service. They plan to meet four times annually and will work with experts in the aforementioned areas to strengthen their leadership abilities. They hope to present an article through Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a workshop within Grace Presbytery to share their discoveries.

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Wicked Good

The Wicked Good Maine Group is composed of five Presbyterian pastors in a “shared cooperative ministry” context of small churches in rural Maine.  They are meeting to define and reframe this kind of ministry, and support each other and their congregations in this isolating, challenging and rewarding service.  They meet to discuss books on worship, social justice, theology and mission, and work to integrate family systems models to improve their congregations’ interactions and the quality of their own ministries.  Together they are creating a bible school curriculum, including newly composed music, based on Christian environmental ethics and creation spirituality to share with other churches.

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Women Dancing At and Beyond the Boundaries

Seven ELCA clergywomen who have heard God's call to dance along and beyond life’s boundaries.  They plan to support and encourage one another as they explore their own boundaries, the boundaries of other people, of the community of faith, of the world and of the triune God in order to better lead the people of God with courage, passion and faith.  They will meet five times in addition to the two CPL conferences.  At each meeting they will focus on one of the boundaries they have identified, reading books they have selected to help focus each session.

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Women in Charge

In the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., there are five Episcopal women who are the clergy leaders of their congregations; they come together to share, hear, encourage, support and challenge each other as women and as leaders in the church.  They are meeting, reading, discussing and engaging in coaching.  They will meet with and learn from outstanding women leaders in the wider church and the world to increase their “ability to lead effectively while maintaining emotional, physical, and spiritual health.”

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