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

2:30pm - 3:00pm: Break

3:00 - 4:30pm: 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. 

(AKA Online)


September 17 & 18, 2020

October 22, 2020

November 19, 2020

January 21, 2021

February 18, 2021

March 18, 2021

April 22, 2021

May 20 & 21, 2021


The 2020-21 Online Leadership Series will use Zoom video conferencing. This means you can log-in and participate from anywhere in the world.



  • 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 Network, a free book of the year, and access to the Members Only portion of the website (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.

  • No reimbursement or credit for missed sessions.

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


Tuition for online and onsite groups is the same.

$25 Non-refundable Application Deposit that will be credited toward your registration costs.




Individual Registration: $1,350 per person

Group Discount Rate: $1,150 per person



  • Bowen, Murray. Family Therapy in Clinical Practice

      - Chapter 16 for Orientation (September 17 & 18).

      - Other chapters for other presentations - to be announced.

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

      - Part 1 for Orientation (September 17 & 18)

  • 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.

Dana Runestad.jpg

Dana Runestad has been a pastor in the Southeast Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1986. She was born into a family of pastors and musicians and started out at Carthage College in Kenosha WI with majors in voice performance and elementary education. After completing a masters degree in music theater at Southern IL University, she went to seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the Ecumenical Theological Consortium in Washington DC. She has served congregations in every imaginable setting and served in every conceivable position, from solo pastor in rural, urban and first, second and third ring suburban congregations, to associate in large congregations, to long term senior pastor and interim/transition positions in urban, suburban and campus situations. 


Peter Steinke's books on systems thinking in congregations have helped her navigate through many challenges over the years. In 2015 she had the opportunity for a year-long sabbatical in Washington DC where she began an immersion in Bowen Family Systems Theory at the Bowen Center that continues to this day. After three years in the post-graduate program she joined the Bowen Center's Faith Leaders Seminar which she has been a part of since 2018. She lives in Plymouth Michigan with her spouse, Barry Rabe, who teaches public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In addition to teaching, he writes books and blogs about environmental policy. They have been married since 1983 and have two grown sons. "Bowen Family Systems Theory has been so incredibly helpful to me," she says. "I am so grateful for the privilege of working with Emlyn and Tony and Jill, to keep learning and thinking with Healthy Congregations, and to accompany colleagues on a journey toward maturity in leadership -- something we seem to need now more than ever."