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Date: Sunday, May 11-14, 2014

Time: 6:00 pm, May 11, through Wednesday, May 14 at Noon.

Registration fee: $375 (Housing and meals included)

Location: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, McCord Community Center
100 E. 27th Street, Austin 78705

Recommended for: women pastors and leaders in church-related organizations

Registration limited.

Click here to register.


What do monarch butterflies, Bach cantatas, and Elvis have in common? Writing in the margins of a Bible. This workshop offers ‘scriptural’ discipline as an alternative to spiritual disciplines. This class will deepen that scriptural practice as we share scriptures, stories, and scriptural disciplines for engaging our margins and drawing closer to God at the edge.

Women’s lives have little margin: just picture J.K. Rowling writing on scraps of napkins and receipts in an English coffeehouse composing her first novel. Women in ministry know that challenge even more fully. This retreat will offer an opportunity to connect with God on the pages of your Bible to see where God’s word meets your world. We will engage in the practices of scriptural discipline, explore the lives of other margin writers, and consider how our leadership might just be shaped in the margins of the Bible.

Each day will begin with time for quiet rest and guided meditation exercises each morning on the campus of Austin Seminary. After lunch we will gather as women pastors to connect with God on the pages of our Bibles in creative and life-giving ways.  Evenings will offer an opportunity to be playful with improvisational theater games, eating TexMex food, watching two million bats fly from under the Congress Ave bridge at dusk, and generally enjoying life.

Who should attend:

Women pastors who have been in the practice of ministry for five years or longer


Sunday, May 11

6:00 pm Dinner and Session One

Discovering the "Golden Ratio" of Page Design and the Design of our Ministry

Matthew 7:12 teaches the 'Golden Rule', the Graphic Arts teach the 'Golden Ratio' of page design.  Both the rule and the ratio help us bless and honor the margins in our lives and leadership.  In this session we will asses the 'margin' in our lives and leadership.

8:00 pm Evening Prayer     


Monday, May 13

Morning: Individual Time for Work, Preparation, Guided Meditation and Rest

Structured Exercises will be provided for those who wish to use them.

1:00 pm Afternoon Prayer followed by Session Two

Leaving the Edges for the Poor and the Marginalized
Leviticus 23:22 calls us to leave the edges of our field for the poor, the wayfarer, the orphan.  In this session we will we learn from the great history of margin-writers to see how their scriptural disciplines have created spaces for the oppressed.

5:30 pm Appetizers

6:00 pm Dinner

7:00 pm Playing in the Margins: Improvisational Theatre Games


Tuesday, May 13

Morning: Individual Time for Work, Preparation, Guided Meditation and Rest

Structured Exercises will be provided for those who wish to use them.

1:00 pm Afternoon Prayer followed by Session Three             

Leading from the Margins through Creative Expression in Ministry
John 8:8 holds one of the greatest mysteries in scripture:  what did Jesus write into the sand at the feet of the woman who was about to be stoned?  In this session we will look to Jesus as one who 'doodled and wrote' to gain perspective, solve conflicts and offer transformative leadership. 

5:30 pm TexMex and Bat watching

Wednesday, May 14

9:30 am Morning Prayer followed by Session Four

Blessing the Space between Word and the World of Ministry
Psalm 139:16 hints that perhaps God is a margin-writer when the Psalmist says of God "In your book were written all the days that were formed for me..."  In this session we will recommit ourselves to God's calling for our lives of leadership in ministry.  We will look to the book of blessings by John O'Donohue who invites us to 'bless the space between us' with a ring of light.  As we see our lives written into that ring of light, perhaps by the very pen of God, we will find energy to bridge the distance between word and world in our ministry.

Noon       Adjourn


About the Presenters

      Lisa Nichols Hickman

Lisa Nichols Hickman is a Presbyterian pastor and author of The Worshiping Life:  Meditations on the Order of Worship; Writing in the Margins: Connecting to God on the Pages of Your Bible and the upcoming Mercy and Melons: Praying the Alphabet. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Theological Studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and writes for the Huffington Post Religion section and Faith and Leadership, Homiletics, On Scripture of Odyssey Networks. Rev. Hickman lives in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania with her husband Jason and two daughters Caitlyn and Leah.




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