This workshop is for pastors, religious educators, and others who wish to
- invigorate theological conversation in their congregations
- deepen personal attentiveness (including your own) to theological meaning and beliefs
A note from workshop leader Karen Hering:
As religious leaders, we are called to engage words in ways that deepen faith, strengthen community and open hearts to love. How do we equip our congregations to do the same? In a time of great polarization, how do we as people of faith reclaim language as a tool for building relationships and proclaiming love within and beyond our congregations?
In this workshop, we’ll experience a spiritual practice of writing that can awaken theological imagination and enrich theological conversation in our congregations. Each day, we’ll participate in guided writing sessions focused on a variety of theological themes, some chosen by the group as we go. We’ll learn a practice developed in congregations as a form of small group ministry. Suitable for writers and nonwriters alike, it uses imagery, objects, religious teachings, stories and poetry along with writing prompts to invite each of us into correspondence with our inner theological voice—robust or faint—and to help us explore matters of faith with one another. Theologian Mary Bednarowski has called this practice “a new form of ministry that transcends multiple traditional boundaries and [offers] profound evidence that the asking of unanswerable questions brings forth wide-open spiritual narratives of astonishing depth.”
If you would like to encourage and deepen your congregation’s theological conversations, this workshop will both inspire and equip you, while also feeding your own writing and reflection.
The Collegeville Institute will cover travel expenses to and from the workshop, all workshop fees, and room and board. Those who join the workshop will be expected to reside at the Institute throughout the entire week. Participants will share apartment space, though each person will be assigned a private bedroom. The program is limited to 12 participants.
Leading the workshop is Rev. Karen Hering, chaplain, consulting literary minister and author of Writing to Wake the Soul: Opening the Sacred Conversation Within, a book about the spiritual practice of writing presented in the workshop. In her ministry of words and story, Karen leads guided writing sessions, retreats and communications workshops for clergy and lay people in congregations, workplaces and community settings and teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. More information about her ministry and book are available online at: karenhering.com. You can also watch this video interview with Karen.
Application deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting applications for this workshop.
NOTE: There will be a modest amount of advance preparation for this workshop, which will include some reading (50 pages or less) and some reflection.
Complete applications include two pieces:
- Application Form
- Current resume or c.v.
After the workshop concludes, each participant is encouraged to submit an original 500-word essay on a topic of his/her choice, intended for a general audience. Participants’ essays may be used as blog entries on the Collegeville Institute’s website or featured in other Collegeville Institute publications. Workshop participants should submit their essays to the Collegeville Institute within three months after the conclusion of the writing workshop.