Leadership Series

Leadership Seminar Series

2019-2020 Leadership Series

The Leadership Series is an opportunity for leaders across professions (pastors, religious leaders, educators, administrators and health professionals) to enrich and expand their ability to apply principles of systems thinking to self, family, and organizations. The year is composed of eight one-day seminars that promote in-depth thinking about self, family, and organizational process through the lens of Bowen Family Systems Theory. A seminar day includes plenary presentations in the morning and application of systems theory to workplace and family in small group coaching in the afternoon. Practical application of theory through working with a coach for an extended period of time is at the heart of systems thinking.

Registration for the 2019-2020 Leadership Series has closed, but we’d love to have you join the 2020-2021 Leadership Series. Registration information for the next series will be released early next year.

The eight concepts of Bowen family systems theory will guide the process of learning. 

  • Presentation and discussion of theoretical concepts of Bowen Theory
  • Application of theory in one’s family
  • Application of theory in the workplace


Onsite Seminar Series

Onsite Schedule

  • 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. – Broadening perspective through the lens of systems theory (Part 1)
  • 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Break
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Broadening perspective through the lens of systems theory (Part 2)
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Lunch
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Bowen Video presentation
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Small Group Coaching – Workplace application
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Break
  • 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Small Group Coaching – Family of Origin (FOO) group

2019-2020 Onsite Dates


The 2019-2020 Onsite Healthy Leadership Series will be located at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). MTSO is easy to find, located on U.S. Route 23, 10 miles north of I-270. Click here for a Google Map for reference. While MTSO is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, their student’s represent 20 different faith traditions and mirrors Healthy Congregations’ desire to build ecumenical relationships.
More information on MTSO

Online Seminar Series

Online Schedule

All times listed are Eastern Time (ET)

  • 1:00 p.m – 2:30 p.m. – Broadening perspective through the lens of systems theory (Part 1)
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Break
  • 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Broadening perspective through the lens of systems theory (Part 2)
  • Online coaching groups will be scheduled at another time by the gathered group during the first session
  • Online participants will receive a link to watch the Bowen Video at their convenience

2019-2020 Online Dates


The 2019-2020 Online Leadership Series will use Zoom video conferencing software (zoom.us). This means you can log-in and participate from anywhere in the world. Zoom is a fast and reliable online conferencing software that Healthy Congregations uses to livestream all of its online events. Click here for an easy quick start guide before the event. Please contact the office if you have any questions regarding zoom or would like to set up a practice meeting.


  • Registration includes  full participation in the nine month program as well as access to a systems coach in small group sessions.
  • Registration includes a free 1-year membership (9/1/19 to 8/31/20) in the Healthy Congregations Network, a free book of the year, and access to the website Resources (a $105 value).
  • A group rate discount is available to all participants who register more than one individual from any one organization, church, or immediate family.
  • Individual coaching (with one’s small group coach) is available at a reduced rate.
  • Registration deadline is September 15th.
  • No reimbursement or credit for missed sessions.
  • The registration cost is refundable (less the deposit) until two weeks prior to the first seminar.


Registration Rates

Tuition for the online and onsite groups is the same.

Early Bird Discount extended through August 15:

Individual Registration: $1,200 per person
Group Discount Registration: $1,000 per person

After August 15:

Individual Registration: $1,350 per person
Group Discount Registration: $1,150 per person

Required Reading

  • Creech, R. Robert. Family Systems and Congregational Life: A Map for Ministry.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2019.  [Healthy Congregations’ Book of the Year 2018-19]
  • Brown, Jenny. Growing Yourself Up:  How to Bring Your Best to All of Life’s Relationships. New South Wales, Australia, and Dunedin, New Zealand:  Exisle Publishing, 2017.

Seminar Location – MTSO.  Online opportunities are available throughout the country.

Seminar Series Facilitators:

Rev Dr Emlyn OttEmlyn Ott is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has served as a parish pastor, campus minister, pastoral counselor, leader, and seminary professor for over 25 years. She was named CEO and Director of Healthy Congregations,Inc. in 2005. She holds a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, a Doctor of Ministry from Phillips Theological Seminary, and is a Clinical Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She has participated for nine years in postgraduate work at the Center for Family Process and the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family and is currently part of Research Group at the Bowen Center.

Tony Wilgus

Anthony J. (Tony) Wilgus, faculty emeritus from the University of Findlay, taught social work for 28 years subsequent to a 10 year stint as a clinical social worker and administrator.  After graduate school at the University of Michigan, he entered the post-graduate training program at the Georgetown Family Center from 1979-1981.  Since that time, he has attended the annual symposia, presented numerous papers, and published manuscripts on a wide range of topics rooted in the family theory originated by Dr. Murray Bowen.

Currently, he resides in Oberlin, OH with his wife, Rev. Beth Marshall.  He occupies the ‘next chapter of his life’ by serving on the Board of Healthy Congregations, Inc. and the Human Relations Commission in Oberlin.  Cherishing his roles as a father of 3 lovely daughters and stepfather to a wonderful son and daughter, he now embraces the joys of grandparenthood to six active youngsters with another one ‘on the way’ in the fall.  Gardening, biking, reading voraciously, and listening to the loons on a Canadian lake bring much joy as he endeavors to lead a life of contemplation in action.