A Message from the Executive Director

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Congregational and community life is in my blood.  The pastor that was a part of my growing up years said it this way: “That confirmation process actually worked for you, didn’t it?”

From the time that I was a teenager, I have been intrigued and blessed by the experiences that I have had in communities of faith.  It is there that I have seen and experienced “the best of times and the worst of times.”  I have learned much from the wisdom of those who have provided strong and clear voices in times of change and transition.  I have learned much from the times that have been enveloped in anxiety and fear.  Both are instructive   if I can continue to keep perspective and focus on the larger processes at play. 

Last week I visited with a colleague of mine who is a voice teacher.  We decided that we have similar vocations.  She draws forth a voice out of the bodies and souls of men and women who interpret music through the complex attributes of mind, body and spirit.  At one point she said, “For most people, it isn’t bad ‘musicianship’ that lends itself to being out of tune or not expressive.  The problem is that they are not very familiar with their own equipment and making the best use of it.”

I think of system thinking and the observation of emotional process as very similar to the breathing mechanisms and vocal chords of the singer.  It takes time to be able to get to know ourselves and be able to be clearer and more focused in thinking around situations and relationships that are laden with history, dynamics and undercurrents.  The history, dynamics and undercurrents are the songs within the life forces of closeness and separateness as well as the ever present dynamic of fear and anxiety.  We have inherited something that is in our blood and bones which tells a story.  That story is sometimes beyond the functional facts that are a part of our awareness.  It is the incarnated experience of beginning the journey of discovery about what has formed us relationally—over many years and into the past of our families and our faith families—that is at the heart of what Healthy Congregations identifies and explores. 

Healthy Congregations is an organization that is dedicated to provide excellent resources for the development of clearer thinking about emotional process and leadership within communities of faith.   

Congregations are the lifeblood and the source of observation for the organization.  Our Board of Directors consists of gifted and experienced people with a variety of backgrounds who share a similar regard for the possibilities that exist for faith communities.  We are exploring the strange new world of technology and distance learning.  I am committed to keeping aware of the current emotional landscape of our world.  That landscape includes terrifying, challenging and exciting changes in this period of time which Phyllis Tickle describes as “The Great Emergence.”  Emotional process thinkers are always increasing their view of relationships and principles with an eye toward expanded integration and vitality. That is the road we travel.

Is congregational life in your blood too?  Explore it with us.

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The Rev. Dr. Emlyn A. Ott