The 16th Annual National Gathering will be held October 14-15, 2014
Location : Columbus, Ohio

Martin de Porres Center, Ohio Dominican University, 2330 Airport Drive, Columbus, Ohio

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15th Annual Healthy Congregations National Gathering

The Longing for Togetherness: Lament and Hope in Congregational Life

October 14-15, 2013

Martin de Porres Center, Ohio Dominican University, 2330 Airport Drive, Columbus, Ohio


This year Healthy Congregations, Inc. returned the National Gathering to the location of its national office—Columbus, Ohio.  Thank you to all of the participants who made this year's Gathering such a great success! 

This Year’s Focus...

Congregational leaders have discovered that groups, organizations, families and congregations have intriguing mixtures of the desire for intense closeness and the equally powerful forces of remaining separate and distinct. Formative texts from our various religious heritages name that dynamic. Much of congregational life is spent negotiating and being perplexed by this closeness/distance dance. How can we understand it more thoughtfully, observe it more neutrally, and gain a broader view on congregational emotional process? Our discussions will center on the impact of the reciprocity of togetherness and separateness on the health, purpose and resilience of individuals and communities.

This National Gathering will continue HC’s commitment to exploring family of origin work. There will be a presentation about the purpose and focus of family systems coaching during Tuesdays’ activities. Each registrant will also have the opportunity to spend time with an experienced coach.


daniels_lillianThe Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel
Lillian Daniel has served as the Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn since 2004. As editor at large for the Christian Century Magazine, and a contributing editor at Leadership Journal, her work has also appeared in The Huffington Post, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, Books and Culture, The Journal for Preachers and in the daily email devotionals available at, with over 20,000 subscribers. She has taught preaching at Chicago Theological Seminary, the University of Chicago Divinity School and at her alma mater, Yale Divinity School, where she received the 2010 distinguished alumni award for “Distinction in Congregational Ministry.” Her book, When Spiritual But Not Religious is Not Enough: Seeing God In Surprising Places, Even the Church will be provided for each registrant of the conference. This much talked about book has been described as biting, hilarious, pitch perfect, tender and often stunningly beautiful.
schara_andreaAndrea Maloney Schara, LICSW
Andrea Maloney Schara is an academic, author, founder and board member of “Leaders for Tomorrow”. Hired by Murray Bowen, M.D. in 1980, she worked on staff in the department of psychiatry at Georgetown University Family Center where she was later
appointed to the faculty. Ms. Schara created “Leaders for Tomorrow”, a non-profit dedicated to communicating the ideas of Bowen Theory. The group has been instrumental in archiving all of Dr. Bowen’s papers and video tapes and transferring the legacy of Dr. Bowen to the National Library of Medicine. Her accomplishments include private practice and biofeedback at the Bowen Center, presentations on the application of Bowen Theory in the United States, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and France. In 1993, Andrea began a neurofeedback practice and currently trains individuals in neurofeedback to increase optimal functioning with “Zengar.” Andrea is the author of Create Your Mindful Compass: Navigating in the Social Jungle for Success (published in Spanish) and numerous academic papers. She currently resides in Darien, Connecticut where she writes and consults with organizations and individuals.

Additional Presenters

The Rev. Dr. Emlyn Ott
Emlyn Ott has served as Executive Director of Healthy Congregations since 2006, when she succeeded Peter Steinke in the leadership of the non-profit. She
currently serves as Dean of Leadership Formation and Assistant Professor of Ministry and Pastoral Leadership at Trinity Seminary. A frequent conference speaker,consultant and coach, she is currently working on the Campaign for the Next Generation of “Healthy Congregations” and her deepening interest in clarity, focus and purpose among “intentional communities” and congregations in transition.
Mary Ann Schwabe
Mary Ann Schwabe begins her service this Fall as Chair of the Healthy Congregations Board of Directors. A leader and coach, Mary Ann has been committed to expanded thinking based on ideas generated by Murray Bowen and Ed Friedmann. She serves as the Assistant to the Bishop in the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the ELCA as staff resource for the Synod’s Congregational Resource Team.
The Rev. Dr. Robert Mathis
Rev. Robert I. Mathis, PhD. is an ordained minister and pastoral counselor, who has served churches in Denver, CO, Pittsburgh, PA, and Columbus, OH. He is a Facilitator for the Healthy Leadership Seminars held at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus and serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Healthy Congregations, Inc. He holds a Master of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO and a PhD. in Psychology with a specialization in Bowen Family Systems Theory from the Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, OH.
The Rev. Dr. Larry Foster
Larry Foster is founder of Clergy Seminars and a former member of the Healthy Congregations Board. His work with family process began in 1979 when he first heard Rabbi Friedman talk about emotional triangles and anxiety. He has worked with four coaches from the Ann Arbor Center of the Family, the Minnesota Institute of Family Dynamics, Friedman’s faculty, and the Georgetown Family Center. As a coach and consultant for sixteen years, his effort in working with Bowen Theory, especially around leadership, continues in all aspects of his own journey.
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