The Collegeville Institute hosted a new summer writing workshop, Writing Theology for the General Leader: A Week with Thomas G. Long, which wrapped up today. Pastors and other writers gathered to discuss and write theology that is thoughtful and profoundly connected to the life of faith and practice.
The workshop addressed a myriad of issues such as finding one’s voice as a writer, knowing one’s readers, choosing meaningful topics, creating apt narratives, constructing the flow of an essay or book, and other useful skills and perspectives. Participants had the opportunity to receive feedback on a work they have already written and also to receive coaching from Sari Fordham on a work in progress.
Special guest Deanna Witkowski, a pianist and composer, spoke to the group about how musical improvisation connects with the skills of writing and pastoring. She also played and sang a few pieces.
When asked about memorable insights they gained from the workshop, one participant said: “One? I have a legal pad filled with notes and ideas and challenges. The one thing–in the course of daily life, I forget that I have the capacity to write and to think and to contribute to the church’s discourse.” Another participant noted: “Imagine you are giving yourself $5 for every word you edit out of your own work!
Commenting on their workshop facilitators, one workshop participant stated: “Both did a phenomenal job. Tom’s knowledge, insight, and experience did not overshadow the contributions of any participant, while also providing a clear organization to our time together. Sari did an exceptional job and offered pointed insights, feedback, and facilitation.”
Another said: “I expect [this writing workshop] will directly inform much of the work that I do–as scholar, lay leader, and student of institutions–in the years ahead.”