Good morning Rev. Dr. Drummond. May I call you Sarah? We’re grateful for your leadership and facilitation of the upcoming book group, Ground Breakers Breakfast Book Group, sponsored by the Center for Transformational Leadership of the S. New England Conference, UCC. We wanted to reach out with a few basic questions to hear more about your thoughts on co-creating and leading this exciting opportunity. We're sure that there are those wondering if this program is right for them. We're eager for everyone to know more because we know this will be a superior book group experience.
Karen: So why a book group?
Sarah: I so often hear about books that would be helpful to my leadership. Something in me doesn’t want to read them, however, without knowing I’ll have the chance to discuss them with others who care about leadership development for ministry. Discussion is what makes the reading feel real. I am betting others hear about cool new books about leadership and feel the same way.
Karen: You’ve been engaged in leadership development in many ways throughout your vocational journey. What about change leadership for this time in the church and culture feels particularly urgent to you?
Sarah: I started studying change leadership back when change was part of a leader’s job. Now it’s more like a state of affairs, or a backdrop. Change is affecting everyone. What once was a skill set is now a language. You can’t be a good communicator in a culture if you don’t know the language.
Karen: Why these three selections?
Sarah: Straight-up selfishness. Honestly, I picked three books that I’ve wanted to read with colleagues. I’ve read each of them on my own, and I had the sense while doing so that I wasn’t getting as much out of them as I would if talking with like-minded learners.
Karen: What do you hope for as folks gather in this space?
Sarah: Here’s a shopping metaphor: I’m hoping that we can give each other room to try on new ideas for size and ask each other how we look in them. Participants will be invited to bring to each discussion something specific that they plan to do/view/think about differently in light of their reading. We will then give each other feedback on those visions and learn through each other’s experimentation.
Karen: Who should attend?
Sarah: This will be a group for those who embrace lifelong learning. Participants should expect an anti-grouchy atmosphere. None of the books is perfect, but we’ll approach them with an appreciative mentality. My hope is that those who sign up will plan to complete the reading, show up, and come ready to make themselves vulnerable. Nobody knows everything already; what fun would that be?
Karen: Thanks for sharing a bit of your time, Rev. Dr. Drummond
Sarah Birmingham Drummond is the Founding Dean of Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School. She graduated from Yale College with a major in Ethics, Politics, and Economics; Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Divinity; and the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee with a Ph.D. in Urban Education, specializing in administrative leadership. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
Karen Ziel is the Assistant Director of the Center for Transformational Leadership (CTL) at the Southern New England Conference. She can help congregations and their leaders with tools and resources for assessment and discernment. As a member of ...