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On this page:

  • 2024-25 Leadership Series Application Process

  • Online Seminar Dates and Information

  • In-Person Seminar Dates and Information

  • Monthly Topics

  • Required Readings

  • Facilitators

  • Costs

  • Details

rship Series

"Cultivating Connections in a

Fragmented World"

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 seminars that promote in-depth thinking about self, family, and organizational process through the lens of Bowen Family Systems Theory. The seminar includes plenary presentations, application of systems theory to workplace and family, and small group coaching. Practical application of theory through working with a coach for an extended period of time is at the heart of systems thinking.

Registration Now Open!
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2024-25 Leadership Series Application Process

We invite all participants to do some thinking prior to the start of the program by completing an application and preparing a family diagram of three generations. The application is a series of questions to prepare you for the perspective and process of the program. Resources for completing the family diagram are available. For "new" applicants, a conversation with one of the group consultation facilitators will follow the receipt of your application. 

Please download and complete the correct application, and submit it along with your three generation family diagram to

by Tuesday, September 3, 2024.


A non-refundable deposit of $50 that will be credited towards your registration cost is due at the time of application.

Application for NEW participants (or those last participating prior to 2021).

Application for CONTINUING participants. 

How to Build a Family Diagram

Guidelines for the Family Diagram


SCHEDULE (1:00 - 4:30 p.m. Eastern)

1:00- 2:30 p.m.: Broadening perspective through the lens of systems theory (Part 1)

2:30 - 3:00 p.m.: Break

3:00am - 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 consultation group during the first session.

Online participants will receive a link to watch the Bowen Video presentation at their convenience.


Thursday & Friday, September 19-20:
Orientation for ALL participants

*You are invited to attend in-person if possible, or online.

Thursday, October 17, 2024

Thursday, November 21, 2024

Thursday, January 16, 2025

Thursday, February 20, 2025

Thursday, March 20, 2025

Thursday, April 24, 2025

Monday, May 19, 2025: Special Event & Leadership Series Capstone Event


Online via Zoom


SCHEDULE (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Eastern)

8:30- 10:00 a.m.: Broadening perspective through the lens of systems theory (Part 1)

10:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Break

10:30 - 12:00 p.m.: Broadening perspective through the lens of systems theory (Part 2)

12:00 - 12:30 p.m.: Lunch

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.: Bowen video presentation

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.: Small Group Coaching - Workplace application

2:30 - 3:00 p.m.: Break

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.: Small Group Coaching - Family of Origin (FOO) group


Onsite at the Healthy Congregations Office

(located inside All Shepherds Lutheran Church)

6580 Columbus Pike

Lewis Center, OH 43035


Thursday & Friday, September 19-20:

        Orientation for ALL participants


Friday, October 18, 2024

Friday, November 22, 2024

Friday, January 17, 2025

Friday, February 20, 2025

Friday, March 21, 2025

Friday, April 25, 2025

Monday, May 19, 2025: Special Event & Leadership Series Capstone Event


More Information Coming Soon!

Thursday & Friday, September 19 & 20, 2024

Orientation for ALL Participants

Online participants may participate in-person if possible, or online via Zoom.

In-person participants should plan to attend onsite.


Healthy Congregations National Office

(Inside All Shepherds Lutheran Church)

6580 Columbus Pike

Lewis Center, OH 43035

October 17/18, 2024

November 21/22, 2024

December - No Meeting

January 16/17, 2025

February 19/20, 2025

March 20/21, 2025

April 24/25, 2025

Monday, May 19, 2025

Special Event and Leadership Series Capstone - details forthcoming


  • Bowen, Murray. Family Therapy in Clinical Practice

      - Chapter 16 for Orientation

      - Other chapters for other presentations - to be announced.

  • Creech, R. Robert. Family Systems and Congregational Life.

      - Part 1 for Orientation

  • Harrison, Victoria. The Family Diagram and Family Research

      - This book can be ordered from the Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family.

  • Additional readings will be added before and after sessions throughout the year.


Emlyn 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.

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 seven active youngsters ranging in age from 1 to 14.  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.

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Dana Runestad has been a pastor in the Southeast Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1986, where she has served in a variety of congregations and staff positions. She's a youngest sister of three brothers and the daughter of a pastor and a nurse. After relying on every Peter Steinke book to get her through thirty years of parish ministry, she took a deeper dive into Natural Systems Theory in 2015 with 3 years in the post-graduate program at the Bowen Center in Washington D.C. From 2018-2023 she participated in their Faith Leaders Seminar. She's been in a book club for over 20 years and enjoys hiking and good TV with her husband of forty years, Barry Rabe. (Dana rhymes with banana.) They have two grown sons.

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Jennifer Long is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a trained interim minister (IMN) and currently serves an ELCA congregation in the southern tier of New York. She graduated from the University of Hartford (1992) and Eden Theological Seminary (1996). She has participated in a variety of programs that engage Bowen Theory including five years in the Postgraduate Program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (2014-2019). In almost 30 years of ministry, she has served in staff, solo, and interim roles as well as a consultant in church conflict. 

Wife, mother of two, oldest sister of four, and daughter of an only son and middle daughter, she has a particular interest in points of connection between Bowen Family System Theory and spirituality, religious practice and church conflict. 


  • Tuituion for Online and In-Person participants is the same.

  • The $50 non-refundable Application Deposit will be credited toward your registration costs.

  • If using the papyment plan option, a deposit of $200 is required at registration. The balance of the fee is due prior to the start of the first session. (A September and January payment option is available.)



  • Early Bird Registration (Before August 1, 2024): $1,350 per person (incluing $50 application fee)

  • Individual Registration (Beginning August 1, 2024): $1,500 per person (incluing $50 application fee)

  • Group Discount Rate*: $1,300 per person (including $50 application fee per person)

        *"Group Discount" applies to three or more individuals from the same organization or household

Payment Plan Option:

  • $50 application fee & $200 Registration Fee due at time of registration

  • $625 payment due by September 12, 2024

  • $625 payment due by January 9, 2025



  • Registration includes full participation in the eight month program as well as access to a systems coach in small group sessions.

  • Registration includes a free 1-year membership in the Healthy Congregations Member Network, a free book of the year, and access to the Members Area of the website (a $105 value).

  • Registration includes participation in the May 2025 Special Event and Leadership Series Capstone.

  • Individual coaching (with one’s small group coach) is available at a reduced rate.

  • No reimbursement or credit for missed sessions.

  • The registration cost is refundable (less the Application Deposit) until two weeks prior to the first seminar.

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