2018-19 Leadership Series Topics

 

Wilgus — Thoughtful Leaders in Anxious Times (September 20 and 21)

Shrinking membership, depleted budgets, and immersion in the challenges and joys of faith communities are just part of the territory of church life in 2018. Is it possible to pursue a novel way of thinking that offers some guidance in the middle of these pressures? Rooted in family theory developed by Dr. Murray Bowen and elaborated upon by Rabbi Edwin Friedman, these presentations will address a different perspective for understanding what is occurring in congregations and other systems and the relevance of the family of origin for those involved in leadership in business, educational settings and faith communities. For some, a broader overview of the human condition will contribute to a different way of being despite denominational and societal turmoil.

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Ott — Every Generation: Exploring Our Families in the Living Years (October 18 and 19)

There is an explosion of interest in DNA and genetics and the popularity of various ways to connect to relationship and ethnic heritage today. October’s presentations will focus on the process of engaging our current emotional and relationship possibilities in families and communities, including current research in generational studies. Family of origin work challenges us to know more about the facts of our families, but also to bridge disconnects, disappointments, and possibilities “in the living years.” It also challenges a multigenerational view that brings perspective on present day family and organizations. Participants will be encouraged to listen to Mike + The Mechanics prior to the session!

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Wilgus & Billmeier — Companions Through Life: Sibling Position and its Implications (November 15 and 16)

Butting heads with the Chair of the Board? Frustrated with the passivity of your administrative assistant? Might our sibling position offer a clue to some of what is occurring here? All things being equal, one’s siblings are the cohort that will persist over the course of the human life cycle. Walter Toman, a German psychologist and researcher, described not only 10 basic sibling profiles but features of multiple and middle sibling positions. This discussion will examine the details of sibling position along with the potential impact in mate selection, career, and friendships throughout life.

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Wilgus — Human Choice in 3-D: Destiny, Determinism, and Differentiation (January 17 and 18)

Free will has long been a topic of heated philosophical and theological debate. Predestination is simply one take on this phenomenon. Recent discoveries in the biological sciences coupled with a more detailed comprehension of environmental processes raises the issue of human agency and the degree of autonomy that our species may or may not have in the direction of a life. Are we captains of our own ship, masters of our own destiny? The concept of differentiation of self provides a nuanced lens through which to view the contested area of free will and human choice.

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Ott & Strang — I Was a Snow Plow Princess: Exploring Family and Faith on Differentiation Road (February 14 and 15)

Anxiety, according to Dr. Murray Bowen, is the experience of a threat either real or imagined. This day will focus on the capacity to identify and manage anxiety as a source of energy, power, and information. Exploration of the impact of short term threat responses and more embedded forms of anxiety will be explored. Participants will discuss examples of principled action and maturity in response to challenge and change, including the relationship to priestly and prophetic functions in faith communities and families. Participants will be encouraged to watch the movie “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” prior to the session.

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Wilgus — Symptoms in Families, Symptoms in Organizations (March 14 and 15)

Constant staff turnover, factions within the business, and the moves toward restructuring and removal without adequate feedback are all a part of today’s work world. At the same time, a leader grapples with a son with ADD, a withdrawn partner, and a mother recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. What is a symptom, be it in an organization, a community, or in a family? Under what conditions do these arise? And how might an understanding of how anxiety operates in the human offer some avenues for more productively grappling with these issues when they arise? This presentation will address how humans in families and churches respond to internal and external stressors and some ways to manage self slightly differently in their inevitable appearance.

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Ott — If Langdon Met Murray in a Bar… (April 25 and 26)

Theologian Langdon Gilkey wrote two books entitled Naming the Whirlwind and Reaping the Whirlwind in the 1960’s and 70’s describing the search for meaning in the turbulent decades of protest, war, violence, changing mores and meanings. What might Gilkey and Bowen say to one another from their different perspectives? With images based on a text from the Old Testament Prophet Hosea, what is the whirlwind we face today? And what impact is possible with an eye on principles, connection and clarity of thinking and emotional process in these turbulent times?

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Special May Leadership Series Event (May 31)

Richard Blackburn from Lombard-Mennonite Peace Center

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