Dreamers and Visionaries
The Dreamers and Visionaries group is comprised of eight pastors — all currently serving United Methodist Churches in north Georgia. Four members, Dreamers, have a combined 120 years in ministry experience. The other four members, Visionaries, have a combined 40 years in ministry. They look forward to learning from each other; from the unique gifts and wisdom residing in each pastor that will benefit them all. Their study interests revolve around three broad themes: fellowship, community impact and preaching while focusing on church and culture. Shown from left to right, back row: Jeff Ross; David Carboni, Facilitator; Mike Long, Steve Dodson, and Tom Davis. From left to right, front row: Jeremy Lawson; Will Zant; Jody Ray and Olu Brown.
The Grace Whispers group consists of eight United Methodist pastors serving and leading active congregations in small town and suburban communities scattered across North Georgia. Primarily, what draws them together is their common desire to grow in their relationship with God and in their relationships with one another as they continue to fulfill their calling. The group’s name evolved during their discussions about what it means to be both receivers and conveyers of God’s grace. Their goals include discovering the sacred in the everyday; sharing experiences of grace with the world; living out Christian hospitality in community and building a community of trust for spiritual, personal and pastoral restoration. Shown from left to right are: Frank Brock, Mike Morgan, Grady Mosely, Danny Barton, Doug Gilreath, Royeese Stowe, Adam Roberts, Jim Higgins, and Phil Schroeder, facilitator.
The ¢hange Agent$
How does your personal economic situation affect your faith? Or how does your faith affect your economic choices? The ¢hange Agent$ peer group is looking for common ground for building bridges between the affluent and the poor and then equipping themselves and their congregations as change agents to challenge those in their sphere of influence to faithful stewardship of their lives. The ¢hange Agent$ want to find a prophetic voice around faith and money. Their learning goals include: • Exploring the effect of economic systems on faith • Learning to live out and teach faithful stewardship of all God-given resources • Studying biblical models dealing with money • Learning the global impact of local choices • Developing a framework to build bridges across boundaries through honest dialogue. Shown on the back row from left to right are: Jack Hinnen, United Methodist; Marcus Singleton, United Methodist; Eric Bagwell, United Methodist; Mashod Evans, African American Episcopal Church; front row, left to right: Deb Welsh, United Methodist; Emily Freeman Penfield, United Methodist; Carrie Kramer, United Methodist; Stephanie Arnold, United Methodist; Alan Story, Resource Person and Jeff Armbrestor, Facilitator, United Methodist.
The ICE Kingdom Economics Group (ICE KEGs) consists of eight United Methodist Pastors from South Alabama, North Florida who are interested in Faith and Money. As pastors they are concerned over issues of indebtedness, consumption and consumerism, stewardship, globalism and diminished personal responsibility in the use of money. They also share a common concern that an authentic Christian witness is rarely heard in the public forum when issues of money, finance or economics are debated. Examining the intersection of faith and money raises a host of practical theological questions. Before delving into these practical issues, KEG plans to gain a deeper understanding of scriptural teachings concerning money. Shown from left to right, back row: Michael Collins, Facilitator; Debora Bishop, Bob Sweet, Nancy Watson, Laura Weant, Dan Morris; left to right, front row: Ed Glaize, Alan Gantzhorn, and Holly Morales.
Anmchara (Soul Friends) consists of eight parish ministers, six Presbyterians (PCUSA) and two Christian Church (Disciples) located in the lower Ohio Valley, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Their focus is the emerging church movement and how they can lead their congregations to reach out to the communities around them in new and energetic ways. Their studies will begin close to home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, continue in Las Vegas, Iona, and India as they seek to discover what is next for the Church and where God is moving. Shown from left to right, top row: Connie Quinn, Presbyterian; Dan Harry, Disciples of Christ; Terry Bartlett, Disciples of Christ; Laurie Armstrong, Presbyterian; and Dan Callahan, Presbyterian. Left to right, first row: Scott Thayer, Facilitator, Disciples of Christ; Robert Nagy, Presbyterian; Jason Elliott, Presbyterian; and Sam Gibb, Presbyterian.
The ICE3, pronounced ICE Cubes, seek transformation of self, church, and world through participation in the Institute for Clergy Excellence. They are a group of middle age clergy who seek spiritual and professional renewal outside the routinely available continuing education events. Their call, as pastors, is to be effective in their appointments, and honesty requires recognition that age wears on a body and a soul. They seek to finish their active ministry strong and filled with vital faith and fresh ideas. They hunger for experiences that will transform them as human beings and as pastors/leaders in God’s church. Shown from left to right, back row: Bill Burch, United Methodist; Jim Ellison, United Methodist; David Naglee, United Methodist; Mary Lou Gilbert, United Methodist; Glenn Ethridge, United Methodist; David Jones, United Methodist; and left to right, front row: Alice Rogers, Facilitator; Jane Brooks, United Methodist; and Beth LaRocca Pitts, United Methodist.
Sarah’s Sisters is composed of eight female religious leaders seeking to understand their unique voices as they learn to grow into emerging religious contexts. By exploring dynamic, creative, and entrepreneural ways in which religious and non-religious leaders around the globe articulate their vision, the group will develop strengths, better understand growing edges, and find greater vitality within various forms of ministry. Shown from left to right, back row: Dorothy Ann Webster, United Methodist; Cheryl Blankenship, United Methodist; Kerry Holder Joffrion, Episcopalian; Wren Miller, United Methodist; Susan Sloan, Episcopalian; Sherry Birney, Disciples of Christ; Kelly Clem, United Methodist, Facilitator. Seated, left to right: Abi Carlisle-Wilkie, United Methodist; Beth Bahar, Reformed Jewish.
The Jubilee Journey Group
Jubilee Journey focused on ending well, finishing strong in the last quarter of ministry. They addressed several questions: questions that clarify the events and resulting wisdom of their individual experiences; what faith resources they have built for the life after formal ministry in the church and how they can retire “to” something rather than “from” something. Rich experiences with Robert Benson, Rick Bragg, Richard Rorh, and J. Philip Newell among others. They found that one question led to another and used their time in reflection and realizing that while one part of their ministry may be coming to an end, new horizons were developing for deeper ministry. Shown from left to right are: Michael Stewart, United Methodist; Dale Clem, United Methodist; Bob Blackwell, Episcopalian; Ted Leach, United Methodist; Bill Blackerby, Episcopalian; Hughey Reynolds, United Methodist; Roger Thompson, United Methodist; Michael O’Bannon, United Methodist, Facilitator; Not Shown, Bill Winters; Episcopalian.
The learning goals for the Kindred Spirits were to place themselves in an environment that will allow their experience of God to shape their lives and ministries so that they will live out a faith that is authentic, responsible and effective. One participant wrote: For me, the final modules were the icing on the cake. The study opportunities for the last module were more practical and applicable. The final module brought all of what I’ve learned and experienced thus far and culminated in applicable knowledge for my ministry context. As Mark Scandrette described his desire to re-imagine how to be followers of Jesus through “learning labs,” I became excited to try these learning experiments in my ministry context. My experience in San Francisco has transformed the way I perceive myself, worship and preaching, and ministry. Challenges to my introverted personality through the “learning lab” and “Improv” have enabled me to grow. I plan to use what I’ve learned about myself in order to develop more relationships in the community. The past three years have been an intense time of spiritual growth for me. My participation with my colleagues has been an invaluable experience. The San Francisco trip was one of our strongest trips as a group. The strength of the group allowed me the freedom to take risks and try new things. Shown from left to right, standing are: Bart Bowlin, United Methodist, Facilitator; Reagin Brown, United Methodist; Frank Roth, Episcopalian; Ron McKay, United Methodist; Bob Owens, United Methodist; Patsy Carlberg, United Methodist; Judith Comer, Episcopalian. Shown left to right, seated: Kim Scites, United Methodist; Deb Epley, United Methodist.
The Birmingham Eight
The Birmingham Eight Peer Group studied Experiencing the Divine: How the Faithful Experience the Divine in all its Facets. From left to right back row is Ed Hurley, Presbyterian; Steve Jones, Baptist; Ray Dunmyer, Roman Catholic; Tom Evans, Presbyterian; Barry Vaughn, Episcopalian; Jonathan Miller, Reformed Jewish. On the front row is Bob Hurst, United Church of Christ, Facilitator, Al B. Sutton, Baptist; Dennis Foust, Baptist.
The Hoi Polloi Group is deeply concerned with reaching the “missing generation” of young adults and building authentic community. From left to right, back row is Chris Dinson, United Methodist; Leeann Scarbrough, Presbyterian; Lori Carden, United Methodist; Dave Barnhart, United Methodist; Kipp McClurg, United Methodist. On the Front row, left to right is Lloyd Gibbs, United Methodist; Teddy Crum, United Methodist; Bill Gandy, United Methodist; and Brent McDougal, Cooperative Baptist, Facilitator.
Birmingham Faith and Money
Birmingham Faith & Money peer group began its work in the winter of 2007 with an immersion trip to Wall Street, and concluded its study in the Fall of 2010, on another continent, in another world financial capital, but on the other side of the most serious financial contraction of our lifetimes. The backdrop of world events that provided the stage for study of this topic has been seismic in the magnitude of its shift. It has given us the opportunity to study economic phenomenon and attitudes before and after the most significant financial event of our lives. Shown on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, left to right: David Megginnis, Episcopalian; Mark Lacey, United Methodist; Warren Nash, United Methodist; Rich Webster, Episcopalian; Glenda Curry, Episcopalian; Drew Henry, Presbyterian; Cary Speaker, Presbyterian; Maria Campbell, Resource Person; Keith Elder, United Methodist and Bill Morgan, Facilitator
The Elite 8
The Elite 8 discovered exciting new ways to become more effective in conveying the love of Christ through worship and preaching. On the front row, left to right, is John Herndon, Presbyterian Church, USA; Lynne Herring, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America; Endia Scruggs, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America; Mitchell Walker, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America. On the back row, left to right is Harry Johnson, Cumberland Presbyterian Church; Wayne Snodgrass, Missionary Baptist Church; Edward Robinson, Missionary Baptist Church; Bill Montague, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America; David Carboni, United Methodist, Facilitator.
The Atlanta Artisans
The Atlanta Artisans completed their project in 2010. The artist model distinctly shaped the focus of learning for them. They shared a common desire to expressively break out of a stagnation that has culturally and socially bound the church in the arena of preaching and worship. They studied excellence at The Disney Institute, the art of Storytelling with Jay O’Callahan, the art of Video Editing, how to mobilize congregations and forming effective worship in San Francisco, and indigenous churches on the Amazon. Shown from left to right, back row, is Rob Lanford, United Methodist; Bob Winstead, United Methodist; Phil Schroeder, United Methodist. Standing on the front row, left to right, is Tom Elliott, United Methodist; Alice Rogers, United Methodist; Dave Benson, United Methodist; Amy Morgan, United Methodist; John Merk, United Methodist.
The Emmanuel Group
The Emmanuel Group closed out in 2009. Their Preaching and Worship experience encompassed study in Israel and Greece, where they were discovering fresh ways to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. Shown from left to right, front row, is Pastor Brandon Watkins, Apostolic New Testament Church; Jim Stringfellow, United Methodist, Facilitator; Pastor Derrick Flanagan, Apostolic New Testament Church. Shown on the back row, left to right, is Bishop Sam Rice, Apostolic New Testament Church; Apostle Maurice Write, United Christian Church; Apostle Karokas Watkins, Apostolic New Testament Church; Pastor Kirk Arnold, Eternal Word Ministry; Pastor Thomas Davis, Apostolic New Testament Church; and Elder Pete Pierce, United Christian Church.
Decatur Bait and Tackle
The Decatur Bait and Tackle group completed their studies in 2009. Their Preaching and Worship study sought to cultivate leadership skills that would allow them to share Jesus in a way that invites diversity and builds communities of faith that represent God’s love in the world. Shown from left to right on the front row is Carol Cavin-Dillon, United Methodist; Byron Vance, United Methodist; Charlie Hayes, United Methodist, Facilitator; Emily Penfield, United Methodist; Eric Bagwell, United Methodist. Shown on the back row, left to right, is Diane Housler, United Methodist; Stephanie Arnold, United Methodist; Wade Griffith, United Methodist; Bryan Sisson, United Methodist.
All Saints Group
TThe All Saints Group closed out in 2008. The sought to discover and implement new resources and styles for preaching the Gospel story for leading worship that results in spiritual growth, both for themselves and their congregations. Shown left to right, Bob Alford, United Methodist, Facilitator; Vicki Cater, United Methodist; Margaret Scalise, Episcopal; Charles Durham, Presbyterian, PCUSA; Kenneth Fields, Episcopal; Sandra Felkins, United Methodist; Deborah Braden, Episcopal; Gregory Bently, Presbyterian, PCUSA. Kneeling is Scott Thayer, First Christian Church of Tuscaloosa.
The Atlanta Plus group worked on ways to develop bridge building skills that enhance the preaching and worship leadership of the pastor and worship leaders. From left to right Walter Butler, Missionary Baptist; Marvin Morgan, Interdenominational Theological Center; Kathi Chavous, Missionary Baptist Church; Willie Boldern, Missionary Baptist Church; Georgianna Bolden, Missionary Baptist Church; Betty Jones, United Methodist; Paula Christian-Stallworth, The Potter’s House, Clinton Hubbard, Jr., United Methodist, Facilitator; Evaleen Litman Sargent, Baptist.
Round Table Group
The mission statement of the Round Table Group is: Our interfaith study group seeks to acquire more effective worship and preaching skills in order to help people in our diverse culture worship so that they may be transformed through a meaningful connection with the divine and be challenged by the demands of faith. From left to right on the back row is Rabbi Jeffrey Ballon, Reformed Jewish; Sherill Clontz, United Methodist; James Roberts, Presbyterian; Mitchell Williams, United Methodist, Facilitator. Front row, left to right is Robert B. Hurst, United Church of Christ; Robin Palmer, Presbyterian; David Freeman, Baptist; Alice Syltie, The Unitarian Universalist Church.
The Transformer Group
The Transformer Group’s goal was to pursue Excellence in preaching and leading worship by developing their skils for preaching, ministry and leading, furthering their personal spiritual formation and they aspire to more faithful worship. Shown left to right Brent McDougal, Cooperative Baptist; Melissa Saccucci, United Methodist; Michael Carver, United Methodist; Sara Cameron, United Methodist; Richard Patsios, United Methodist; Dorothy Scott, United Methodist, Facilitator; Howard Wayne Johnson, United Methodist; John E. Briscoe, Jr., United Methodist and not shown David W. Duncan, Full Gospel Churches International.
The NICE Group
The Nashville Institute for Clergy Excellence Group goal was to enhance their overall call to ministry by participating in a structured program of study with fellow clergy of various denominations looking particularly at preaching and models of ministry. Shown left to right, Michael O’Bannon, United Methodist; Ken Dunivant, United Methodist, Facilitator; Sandra Randleman, Presbyterian; Harriet Bryan-Harris, United Methodist; Richard K. Gross, Roman Catholic; Gene Manning, Episcopal; Judy D. Cummings, National Baptist; Carol Tate, Presbyterian; Victor Singletary, Baptist.
The Pensacola Group
The Pensacola Group sought the answer to the question, “How do we become authentic leaders of transformational worship experiences?” They considered the heart of worship — the pastor’s interior life and spiritual preparation for worship leadership; the context of worship and the fundamental elements of Worship. Shown from left to right is Carl Dickerson, United Methodist; Gorman Houston, United Methodist; Mack Strange, United Methodist; Ed Glaize, United Methodist; Bill Elwell, United Methodist; Henry Roberts, United Methodist; Michael Collins, Interdenominational; Michael Stewart, United Methodist, Facilitator and Tonya Elmore, not pictured.
The Macaroni Group
The Macaroni Group sought to develop a greater understanding of self, our world, our community of faith, and our solemn task of leading worship and preaching. Shown left to right is Bob Murray, United Methodist; Stella Moore, Presbyterian; Steve Reding, United Methodist; Bart Bowlin, United Methodist; Deborah Timmons-Toney, United Methodist; Kobee Fitzgerald, Missionary Baptist Church; Dale Cohen, United Methodist, Facilitator; Mike Butler, United Methodist; and Mark Pucket, United Methodist.
The Asbury Group
The Learning Goals of the Asbury Group were to grow in understanding of self, church, and community so that they could more effectively communicate the gospel through preaching and worship leadership. Pictured left to right is Keith Pugh, Southern Baptist; Roland Brown, Southern Baptist; Bo Lloyd, United Methodist; Paula Jones, United Methodist; Jeff Armbrester, United Methodist; Todd Henderson, United Methodist; Jonathan Todd, United Methodist; Mark Lacey, United Methodist, Facilitator.