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The Fire of Faith: Rekindling My congregation

Findings from the Congregational Development Research Study* on the relationship between congregational development and faith-based community organizing indicate that engagement in this work can strongly benefit a variety of congregations. As reported by participating lay leaders and clergy in interviews, potential benefits include:

1. More relationships among congregants and with members of other faith traditions;

2. Transfer of leadership skills learned by lay leaders and clergy at trainings that are applicable to many different arenas, e.g. congregational, organizational, professional, and personal;

3. An increased number of leaders who participate in the congregation’s programs and work

4. Heightened visibility and influence of the congregation within the community;

5. A deeper understanding of the faith tradition’s call for  mission; and

6. An increase in congregational membership

*Renewing Congregations The Contribution of Faith Based Community Organizing, Flahtery and Wood, Interfaith Funders, 2002/3

To achieve such benefits in your congregation, join us for the 21st Annual Gamaliel National Clergy/Team Training:

The Fire of Faith: Rekindling My Congregation

April 23-27, 2012

(7:00 p.m. Monday-12:00 noon Friday)

University of St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center

800 wooded acres on a lake in Mundelein, Illinois (north of O’Hare airport)

This training is designed for teams of clergy, lay leaders and organizers who want to strengthen congregations.  No prior training necessary.  Differentiated learning will be offered.  We encourage communities to send teams of leaders in order to build communities of strength.  We will study, discuss, pray and celebrate as a community committed to strengthening our individual congregations.

Featured Presenters:

Bishop Mark S. Hanson is presiding bishop of the 4.2 million members Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Regarding his experience of Gamaliel training, Bishop Hanson has said: “I believe we can use this methodology to integrate the attitudes and disciplines of community organizing even more deeply with our church revitalization efforts.”




Rev. Nelson Rivers III is Vice President for Stakeholder Relations of the NAACP. A renowned preacher and community organizer, Rev. Rivers is the pastor of Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, SC., a church whose membership has grown steadily under his leadership.





Dr. Richard L. Wood (Associate Professor, University of New Mexico) is the author of Faith and the Fire of Public Life, a new book analyzing the dynamics through which democratic engagement can strengthen faith communities.





Ana Garcia-Ashley (Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation) began organizing in 1981. She joined Gamaliel in 1992 as the lead organizer of MICAH in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she led one of the most successful campaigns in Gamaliel’s history: winning a $500 million commitment from local banks to invest in affordable housing.  As a result, 7,000 low-income families in Milwaukee were able to buy homes.  Garcia-Ashley also founded Gamaliel’s statewide Wisconsin affiliate, WISDOM.




There will be ample time for you to share your stories of congregation based organizing, your challenges and successes, your hopes and aspirations.  YOU will learn from fellow participants and make commitmants regarding strategies to strengthen your congregation.



4 nights lodging, 12 meals and program.  $450 before April 6;$500 by April 13; $550 after April 13. 
Register at http://www.gamaliel.org/EventsTraining.aspx 

Sponsoring Partners: The Unit for Congregational and Synodical Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Home Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Witness Ministries, The Reconciliation Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Episcopal Church, The United Church of Christ

Scholarships are available to UCC Clergy and seminarians.  You can download the application here.

If you have questions, please contact Susan Towner-Larsen at Towners@ucc.org

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