Lunch & Learn for Leaders Series

Lunch & Learn for Leaders Series

Lunch & Learn for Leaders Workshop Series

Lunch & Learn for Leaders is a monthly series hosted by the Center for Transformational Leadership. Every third Thursday, join us at noon for an hour-long session of learning and discussion. Each month we will offer a bite-size opportunity to learn valuable concepts and practices from a subject expert. Our wide-ranging topics are relevant to areas of mission and ministry that you, our clergy and lay leaders, have indicated are timely for your congregations. The Lunch & Learn for Leaders series is offered at no cost to participants through your proportional giving!

Upcoming Sessions: 

January 19, 2023: Building Congregational Legacies

We need to change the narrative of declining congregations from failure, closure, and death to legacy building, completion, and resurrection.  God is present throughout this process.  This is a conversation for all churches experiencing decline, and especially for churches that are facing viability concerns.

Session Presenter: Charlie Kuchenbrod was raised in the UCC on Long Island.  After a career in healthcare management, Charlie was called to serve the Connecticut Conference in 2002. He brought his management skills and experience to the financial affairs of the Conference and consulting with congregations.  In April of 2021, Charlie’s relationship with the SNEUCC changed from employee to consultant and he currently serves as the Legacy Church Specialist. Charlie is a member of the newly reunited Granby Congregational Church and lives in North Granby with his wife, Becky Sielman.  Parents are only as happy as their least happy child, and Charlie and Becky are blessed with two happy adult children. REGISTER HERE

February 16, 2023: Discerning Your Church’s Future 

Previous Sessions:

November 17, 2022: Introduction to Christian Contemplative Practices 
What does “contemplation” mean?  When we “contemplate” an idea, contemplation implies something deeper than thinking only.  In contemplation, we start from a place of mystery and an acceptance of not knowing. This is often called the “mystical” dimension of faith, which shares a root with the word “mystery”. Spiritual truths often begin as a mystery because there is much we must spiritually unlearn, including many beliefs that no longer serve us.  As we release fear’s grip and open our minds and hearts, new revelations are revealed to us. We shall talk more about these foundations over the course of our “Introduction to Christian Contemplative Practices” gatherings.      

Presenter: Rev. Matt Carriker is an author, spiritual coach, and retreat leader.  Matt is passionate about altering Christianity today into a spiritual tradition that models the unconditional love of God and the life and teachings of Jesus. The title of his upcoming book is “Giving Christianity back to Jesus.” Matt holds a number of part-time ministries.  In addition to being the part-time Protestant Chaplain at Brandeis, Matt serves part-time as the Program Director for Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM), an interfaith social action organization that also runs the Interfaith Youth Initiative program.  In addition, Matt  co-facilitates confirmation and adult spiritual formation retreats through the Mass. Conference UCC for youth and adults from across Massachusetts churches.

October 20, 2022: The Benefits of Coaching Services
Are you or your church envisioning something new?  Are you or your congregation feeling stuck or struggling with tensions getting in the way of the work?  Are you or your congregation needing an outside perspective to support you and accompany you as you move through a process?  Have you heard all the talk about Coaching and wondered what it is and how it might help you or your congregation? Whether it is about feeling stuck or launching a new ministry, finding common ground and a common goal or discerning a new path, a Coach could be helpful for you or your congregation.  Join Rev. Heather Ramsey Mabrouk for a brief presentation about individual and group coaching, the process of working with a Together We Thrive Coach, and a special program that is re-launching in January of 2023. 

Presenter: Rev. Heather Ramsey Mabrouk is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a trained Professional Level Coach and both the Director for the Center for Transformational Leadership and the Program Director for Together We Thrive, an ecumenical initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment and in collaboration with the Southern New England conference UCC, the New England Synod, ELCA, Lutheran and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.  Prior to her work with Together We Thrive and SNEUCC, she served in local church ministry for over 14 years.   Before discerning a call to ministry, Heather was a public school teacher, graduating from Furman University with a BA in elementary education and beginning her MA in Education. 

September 15, 2022: The Endemic Church: The Reality and Possibilities for Ministry Now and Over the Next Few Years
We know that the global pandemic has had a dramatic impact on faith communities, but what exactly is the impact? How is it changing attendance? Giving? Use of technology? The role of clergy? What are the implications for congregational leadership?  Which of these changes were simply amplifications of existing trends and which were new avenues for ministry? Join us as we look at significant patterns from the Faith Communities Today Initiative, ( which has tracked strengths, challenges, and opportunities in the congregations since 2000, and the first three pandemic surveys of the five year project Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations ( Bring your questions; there will be ample time for Q&A.

Presenter: Scott Thumma, Professor of Sociology of Religion and Director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research ( at Hartford International University (formerly Hartford Seminary), Hartford, Connecticut. He has published numerous articles, research reports, and chapters on religious life in addition to co-authoring three books, The Other 80 Percent, Beyond Megachurch Myths, and Gay Religion. He has researched and written on megachurches, evangelicalism, gay religious life, congregational studies, the rise of nondenominational churches, and the changing religious landscape.

June 16, 2022: Conflict & Community
Do you ever feel conflict is keeping your congregation from flourishing? Churches often are locked in the “basement” level of communication – precariously hovering between conflict and compromise. This workshop explores how to better “navigate the nonsense” in churches and avoid bad habits that break down communication instead of building it up.  Clergy can inadvertently amplify church conflict when trying to help others. Their problem-solving efforts often only make matters worse, which gives life to “the church monster” that devours congregations. This workshop seeks to uncover hidden pathways to higher levels of communication that promote community and creativity in ministry.

Presenter: Rev. Doug Bixby

May 19, 2022: Reaching Your Community-Church Podcasts 101
Over the last decade, podcasting has grown into one of the most important media methods for reaching individuals and communities. How can your congregation enter the world of podcasting? How do you begin? What topics, themes might be of interest? How can creating a podcast help your congregation make a deeper community connection?       
Presenter: Rev. Eric Fistler, Senior Minister for the First Congregational Church of Chrystal Lake, Chrystal Lake IL., and host of the podcast, Pulpit Fiction, exploring the lectionary and engaging contemporary authors and theologians.  Pulpit Fiction boasts a wide audience and is celebrating its 10th year.

April 21, 2022: How can Family Systems Theory Inform Our Leadership?
How is using a family systems lens valuable to church leaders? Why and how does it apply to maintaining healthy congregations and communities? Learn more about the effects of anxiety on churches and individuals and how using a family systems lens can provide clarity and insight.

Presenter:  Rev. Barbara Lemmel is a coach and trained family systems educator. She developed and currently leads Tending the Fire a clergy leadership development process and has developed family systems retreats for laity and judicatory leadership.

March 17, 2022: Exploring Transformative Leadership in a Climate Changed World
What is the role of spirituality and wisdom in transformative leadership? How is our discipleship formed and re-formed in a changing religious and cultural landscape? How might a faithful and effective mission be formed for ministry in a climate-changed world?

Presenters: Aram Mitchell, Director of Partnerships and Formation at the BTS Center and Rev. Emma Brewer-Wallin, Minister for Environmental and Economic Justice, SNEUCC

February 17,2022:  Exploring the Benefits of Behavioral Covenants     
What is a behavioral covenant? What are the benefits of an agreed-upon set of holy manners for your congregation’s ministry together? How can a covenant of this type empower you and your church leadership to address and manage members behaving badly or an emerging conflict?                
Presenter: Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, Minister and Team Leader Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Ministry Team, United Church of Christ


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