OCTOBER 29-31, 2024

renewed and strengthened

Equipping and Supporting Leaders in Times of Transition


Tuesday, October 29
12:45 to 2:15 PM Eastern

Welcoming the Artist – Creativity and Leadership - Rev. Cynthia Vermillion-Foster

In The Creative Call, Janise Elsheimer says: “We will find the artist God intends us to be when we empty ourselves of self and become open to his plan and to the inspiration of his Holy Spirit.”

In reading these words, I remember my years as a ballet dancer, knowing that the magic happened when I let go, when I emptied myself, and allowed the dance to dance me – allowed Spirit to move me. I also think about the communities I serve during this liminal time. Oftentimes I find them hanging on to what was, trying valiantly to return to the “glory days.” But those days are gone. Spirit is calling them to something new, something they can’t yet see. I look at them, wondering how I can get them to loosen up, step outside the box, and welcome their individual and collective artists. This, I believe, is essential as we navigate this time together.

This interactive webinar is an opportunity to play together, to loosen up and explore our creativity together, and to consider how we can nurture the creativity in those we serve.

Rev. Cynthia Vermillion-Foster creates spaces for individuals and communities to discover and unleash their full potential. An ordained Unity minister of 25 years, Cynthia served as the Director of Member Services for Unity Worldwide Ministries for 5 years. Prior to this, she served as the Regional Consultant and Regional Representative for Canada for 10 years. In these roles, Cynthia had the privilege of supporting, coaching and consulting with ministries throughout the US and Canada. Cynthia also served on the UWM’s Ethics Review Team for 10 years including 2 years as Chair of the team. With her husband, Rev. Don Foster, Cynthia served ministries in Chantilly, VA and Hamilton, ON. She is the 2016 recipient of Unity Worldwide Ministries’ Myrtle Fillmore Award and Unity Canada’s 2017 Northern Lights Award. revcvermillion@gmail.com

One Person Can Make a Difference! Building Community, Trust, and Effectiveness in Groups - Rev. Kimberly Secrist Ashby

In transitional ministry, the health and effectiveness of a key group or groups within the church can have a big impact on the growth and development of the rest of the church! In this workshop you’ll learn how to assess the health of groups within your congregation. Looking through different lenses, you’ll gain skills to help groups in your church build better community, deeper trust, and healthy interactions, despite their differences. 

Rev. Kimberly Secrist Ashby is a Presbyterian pastor, mother, and facilitator/leader from the former Center for Emotional Intelligence and Human Relations Skills.  Kimberly has been serving the church for more than 20 years, as an Associate Pastor focusing in Christian Education, as a Solo Pastor, and as an Interim Pastor. She loves to travel, especially to Spain, and speaks Spanish well. She also enjoys a lot of creative things on the side – cooking, baking, mosaics, reading, and more. Her older daughter is studying abroad in Spain this summer, and her younger daughter is deep into photography. Kimberly is currently pastoring a church outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. kimberlysec@outlook.com.

Vital Congregations in Partnership: Considering Shared Ministry - Rev. Dr. Ruth Shaver

What do you do if your congregation cannot justly and equitably support a full-time pastor but it knows what community members say when asked, “What would be missing if the church were to close?” and the answers give hope and vision? One answer: Two or more vital congregations sharing financial resources to support pastoral leadership in a discerned and carefully developed partnership to sustain and expand their ministries as individual churches in cooperation with each other to do together what cannot be done separately. In this workshop we will consider factors that make Shared Ministry a viable alternative for the sustainable ministry of local congregations. The new and ongoing experience of Lakeville United Church of Christ and North Congregational Church UCC will serve as a case study. While not a new model, its implementation in 21st century congregations is substantially different from the shared ministries that developed as two-point or even multi-point charges over the past 100+ years.

Rev. Dr. Ruth E. Shaver is the Bridge Interim Pastor of Lakeville United Church of Christ in Lakeville, Massachusetts, and North Congregational Church United Church of Christ in Middleborough, Massachusetts and the Moderator of the Old Colony Association. She is the Academic Dean of PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc.; an apprentice faculty member of the Interim Ministry Network; an Interim Consultant in the Southeast Region of the Southern New England Conference; and a member of the Manual on Local Church rollout team for the United Church of Christ. She is a past Fellow of Sinai and Synapses (2017-2019 cohort). She holds a Doctor of Ministry (I Wonder: Scientific Exploration and Experimentation as a Practice of Christian Faith) from Lancaster Theological Seminary, a Masters of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Soviet and East European Studies from Boston University College of Liberal Arts. Shaver resides in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where she roots for Boston sports teams, cooks, reads, and enjoys every opportunity to visit museums and go kayaking with friends. revdrruthucc@icor1348.com

Everyone Loves a Non-Anxious Presence: Calm Down, Grow Up, and Live Your Best Life - Rev. Jack Shitama

People are hard to deal with. If you’re tired of struggling to figure out how to be your best, then this workshop is for you. It will help you:

  • Avoid reacting defensively or aggressively in anxious situations.
  • Avoid giving in without saying what you need to say.
  • Be your best as a non-anxious presence.

Based on the book by the same name, the workshop covers the principles of Bowen family systems theory in a way that you can understand and apply.

Rev. Jack Shitama is an author, teacher, speaker and coach. His family systems approach to leadership helps congregational and nonprofit leaders achieve their best spiritually, physically and professionally. He is an avid learner with a passion for taking the most recent secular learnings and applying them to spiritual leadership.

Jack is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and currently serves as the Executive Director at Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries in Centreville, MD. He is also the Director for the Center for Vital Leadership. He was President of the International Association of Conference Center Administrators from 2003-2007 and served on the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries Association Board from 2007-2015, including as Vice-Chair (2011-2013) and Chair (2013-2015).

Jack is the author of Anxious Church, Anxious People: How to Lead Change in an Age of Anxiety, One New Habit, One Big Goal: Change Your Life in 10 Weeks,  If You Met My Family You’d Understand: A Family Systems Primer, and Everyone Loves a Non-Anxious Presence: Calm Down, Grow Up, and Live Your Best Life.

Jack and his wife of 42 years, Jodi, have four adult children and five grandchildren. Jack is an avid runner and has completed the Baltimore Marathon three times. He plays guitar and bass in the Jacob’s Well Band, his church’s worship band. He enjoys all kinds of sports, cooking, reading, traveling and, most of all, seeing people experience spiritual growth. jack@christian-leaders.com