2019-20 Leadership Series Topics

Alliances, Coalitions and Triangles:  The Geometry of Human Relationships (September 19 and 20)

Gossip is as ancient as the earliest hominid vocalizations.  It can serve to bind together the group in an information sharing and social norm enforcing manner.  However, these communications can be problematic over the long haul.  This presentation will survey the land mines of triangles and the predicaments that they pose in the family, the congregation, and the organization.

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Channeling Tina Turner:  What’s Emotional Process Got to Do with It? (October 17 and 18)

In an age of polarization and digital communication, the challenge to connect well is increasing.  Discussion about the impact of emotional process and avenues for direct, thoughtful and diverse engagement will be explored.

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R. Robert Creech — Getting to Know You: The Mystery of the Self and the Other (via Zoom on November 14 [11:30-1:00pm ET] and November 15 [12:00-1:30pm])

The most grown-up thing you will ever do is to have a person to person relationship with every member of your family (Murray Bowen).  This discussion will explore definitions of these kinds of more open relationships, some of the obstacles in moving in that direction, and ways of thinking that will enhance the depth and quality of relationships in the family and the congregation.

Robert Creech is the author of Healthy Congregations’ Book of the Year, Family Systems and Congregational Life.

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Toward More Principled Spiritual Exercises for the Unenlightened (January 16 and 17)

Coming to terms with one’s religious heritage as an essential path to defining a current faith tradition will be the focus of this presentation.  Persons informed by a more objective reconciliation of the prior familial traditions will find that this perspective lends not only clarity and direction to the present but also serves as a guide to a more vibrant and flexible spirituality for the future.  A presentation of Antoinette Brown Blackwell will be offered as an example of differentiation of self.

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Things Fall Apart:  Managing Leadership in an Era of Shifting Denominational Sand (February 20 and 21)

The last ten years in American religious life has led to significant changes in denominations and the development of spiritual and religious trends that lie outside of traditional structures.  What adaptive capacities can be engaged that contribute toward greater maturity in decision making and relationships?  How does family attentiveness contribute toward greater autonomy and resilient connections with colleagues and community?

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Strong Where Broken:  Trauma in an Era of Triggers (March 19 and 20)

A review of current thinking on the impact of trauma in the life of individuals, families and organizations will be explored in these discussions as well as leadership and individual challenges to thinking that contributes to greater strength and theological capacities that frame the impact of trauma from a Bowen perspective.

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The Sins of Our Fathers and Mothers:  Does the Past Become the Present?  (April 23 and 24)

“The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.“ (William Faulkner).  Historians have long acknowledged the role of the past in shaping the present and the future.  Bowen theory proposes that the relationship system in the present is notably influenced by the functioning and maturity levels of our foremothers and forefathers.  This presentation will highlight the concept of the multigenerational transmission process and the challenges and merits that this understanding can provide for negotiating relationships in the here and now.

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Special May Leadership Series Two-Day Event (May 29-30)

Tod Bolsinger author of Canoeing the Mountains and several other presenters TBA.

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