Friday, April 13, 2007

Center for Spiritual Direction

After a too long flight (arriving in Chicago at 3:45 am) and a too early meeting (9:00 a.m) the Center for Spritual Direction Executive Team (CSD) met at the seminary for four hours today. There is good news and there is challenging news. The good news is that the CSD is in its thrid summer, with an incoming cohort of 20 persons, well-balanced between men/women, clergy/lay, and diverse ethnic background.
We oversee the course outlines for each year, and were really impressed with both the depth and breadth of topics and presenters. As Lilly Grant funding winds down, we are seeing a greater percentage of lay persons entering this certificate program.
But the challenging questions revolve around the two poles of responsbility (do it) and authority (resources to do it). I t seems like this innovative program is the orphan child in the institution. Everyone likes it, but not all departments was to help fund it and put their money and staff towards its support. This dilemma is not so much of a blame-game or slamming of denominational leaders, but a discussion about capacity and flexibility. Does the Covenant (both denomination and seminary) have a flexible enough structure to meaningfully support new initiatives in new ways, or must they conform to old ways of control and commnad on the desks of already overworked faculty, staff and elected leaders?
As I listened as an outsider pastor, I thought about the corporate cultures that are struggling to survive and those that are thriving. Vision and capacity for change and risk are big qualities in those that thrive, and reactivity and bureacratizing are marks of the dinosaurs of resistance (will Ford and General motors survive in 10 years?) Does a 123 year old denomination have the flexibility for the next 123 years?


At 9:45 PM , Blogger doreen said...

You are VERY sly, Donn! I didn't even know you took this picture!

At 6:23 PM , Blogger Andrew Stonina said...

I would hope that the resources could be made available to fund this initiative. Spiritual Formation is not only an important part to seminary education (which is not effected by this Lily Grant), but is also important to the life of the church.

When I entered the seminary, I was a bit skeptical about that component of my education, but now having gone through the curiculum (sp?) I have appreciated it and even adopted things to implement in my own life. As I look at ministry and the need for spiritual formation, I feel that I need even more education in order to help people beyond what I have already learned.

I hope that the certificate program will continue!

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