The Collegeville Institute Fellows recently concluded their sixth cohort meeting in the two-year program, which is designed to cultivate pastors’ sense of public leadership. The October 2014 meeting focused on the challenges of health care in Minnesota. Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization, opened the meeting by addressing the Fellows regarding the dynamics of partnerships being forged between insurers and delivery systems. Katia McDonough, a nurse practitioner and public health expert, discussed current problems facing Minnesota’s public health system, and Gregory Plotnikoff, a doctor specializing in cross-cultural and integrative medicine, probed intersections among psychological, spiritual, and bodily health.
With two meetings left to go in this cohort, the Fellows have become a tightly knit group of pastors and religious leaders who support each other’s ministry and push each other toward social engagement. While the program aims to empower pastors to act in the public sector for the common good, many Fellows have discovered even more complexity than they had previously assumed about social challenges. This complexity, we hope, will not be a barrier to action, but rather will enable fellows to act wisely and strategically in the public sector.