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Virtual CAFÉ


IMN is more than an interfaith association of transitional colleagues working with congregations during times of transition. IMN is a community of practice. Members have knowledge, expertise, stories, successes, and challenges to share about working effectively with congregations during times of transition.  The IMN Member Support Team offers a new opportunity for IMN Members to be in community with one another.

The IMN Virtual Café is a monthly opportunity to share a conversation about a transitional topic. Open to settled clergy, interim clergy, lay leaders, transitional clergy, and judicatories. Using Zoom video conferencing, or your telephone, you will be in a topic-specific 90-minute conversation with your colleagues and a host with experience on that topic.

Two pilot offerings are now available:

Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 1:00 – 2:30pm Eastern Time

Topic:  Agreements and Contracting

Join Arlen and others to discuss the basics of contracting and what to know before you start negotiating. Dialogue on how to create the best transitional ministry agreement/contract that clearly outlines the responsibilities of both parties, get what is important for you as well as how to sell the best YOU!

Host: Arlen Vernava has served, since 1985, both settled and interim congregations in the Northeast and provided leadership to ecumenical and interfaith groups and organizations. Vernava is an IMN Professional Transition Specialist, an IMN Faculty member, Team Lead for the IMN Education Team and a Senior Consultant with Design Group International. His ministry includes coaching executive leaders during organizational change and transition, helping congregations and organizations live into their vocation, and serving as embedded strategic interim during a congregation’s seasons of change and transition. In March, he completed a year-long course of study and certification in Coaching and the Enneagram, through the Madanes School of Enneagram Coaching in Israel.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 1:00 – 2:30 pm Eastern Time 

Topic:  Approaching Your First Interim

In both theory and practice, Intentional Interim Ministry isn’t about delivering the perfect solution, it is about being a living model of an Action/Reflection approach to congregational learning and empowerment. Join the conversation with John and others to reflect on our learning experiences, as well as an opportunity to identify things which went really well!

Host: John Keydel is currently the Interim Rector for St. James’ Church in Loithan, Maryland. Over his 18 years of ordained ministry, John’s main focus has been formation, whether for a diocese or as an interim. Prior to his work as a congregation intentional interim, he served as a Canon in the Diocese of Michigan for nine years, including six years as the Canon for Ministry Development and Transitional Ministries. Keydel started his career with eleven years in retail banking in Connecticut. His M.Div. degree is from the Berkeley/Yale Divinity School and holds M.B.A. and M.Ed. degrees.


Register Below:

These pilot offerings are FREE to IMN members. The first 15 members registering for each IMN Virtual Café are guaranteed a spot in the conversation. Others after the first 15, will be saved for future dates of the topics.  To register click on the topic below and add to cart. Complete the information on the shopping cart and SUBMIT.

Ellen Goudy will contact you in a separate email with the call accessing details.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 1:00 to 2:00 pm Eastern


Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 1:00 - 2:30 pm Eastern


Membership Fee
New Member - Add $115.00
Renewal - Add $115.00
Clergy Spouse - Add $50.00
Judicatory - Add $155.00

Volunteer Opportunities:

One-time Contribution to IMN


Education Opportunities

The education of clergy and congregations in the interim time has proven to be essential in the life of the congregation. IMN seeks programs that enhance this ministry for the clergy and the lay leaders. Many programs are developed around the framework of the Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry training.  Time to time IMN will partner with other organizations to bring to its visitors and membership a well rounded curriculum.

Current Education Opportunities:

Future Education Opportunities

  • On-line Virtual Cafe will feature topic driven conversations.
  • On-line Webinars
  • Continuing Education are 1 to 2 day seminars on a specific topic.
Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church

Click on book image to order.

Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church
by Carol Howard Merritt

An effective plan to help those suffering from wounds inflicted by the church find spiritual healing and a renewed sense of faith.

Raised as a conservative Christian, minister and author Carol Howard Merritt discovered that the traditional institutions she grew up in inflicted great pain and suffering on others. Though she loved the spirituality the church provided, she knew that, because of sexism, homophobia, and manipulative religious politics, established religious institutions weren’t always holy or safe. Instead of offering refuge, these institutions have betrayed people’s hearts and souls. “People have suffered religious abuse,” she writes, “which can be different from physical injury or psychological trauma.”

Though participation and affiliation in traditional religious institutions is waning, many people still believe in God. Merritt contends that many leave the church because they have lost trust in the institution, not in God. Healing Spiritual Wounds addresses the church’s dichotomous image—as a safe space and as a dangerous place—and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith. Merritt lays out a multistage plan for moving from pain to spiritual rebirth, from recovering theological and emotional shards to recovering communal wholeness.

Merritt does not sugarcoat the wrongs institutions long seen as trustworthy have inflicted on many innocent victims. Sympathetic, understanding, and deeply positive, she offers hope and a way to help them heal and reclaim the spiritual joy that can make them whole again.

Carol Howard Merritt was the, Wednesday, June 21, 2018, keynote at the IMN Annual Conference in St. Louis Missouri. 


“An amazing resource… emotionally intense, beautifully written, and courageously honest, and the exercises are just what you need. Healing Spiritual Wounds helped me.” (Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration)

Healing Spiritual Wounds provides validation and comfort for anyone feeling alone within or abandoned by the church. In this much-needed book, Merritt offers practical ways to explore the sources of our brokenness. A generous guide to reconnecting with a loving God.” (Meredith Gould, author of Desperately Seeking Spirituality: A Field Guide to Practice (Liturgical Press))

January 31

January 31

(with inclusive language)

God called forth a people
and we responded to God’s call,
‘Rebuild this ancient ruin,
restore My city walls.’

As we built, brick by brick
we discovered the cornerstone
and as we let God mould and fashion us,
God built us up in love.

Now we have seen,
and we have heard,
that our God is great
for a wilderness has been transformed
into God’s holy place.

-Celtic Daily Prayer 2002
Prayer and Readings from the Northumbria community

Nuggets of Wisdom

Nuggets of Wisdom

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Crack. You open the fortune cookie and pull out the little paper. You read aloud: “A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.” Thought-provoking, maybe. But profound? Useful? A truly helpful nugget of wisdom? Hardly.

The apostle Paul wrote short, concise sayings too. But he offered far better wisdom and help than anything found in a fortune cookie. “Rejoice always.” “Pray continually.” “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Short. But profound. And helpful!

“Rejoice always.” Joy is a fruit of faith in Jesus. When we belong to Christ Jesus, God wants us to reflect how blessed it is to have forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. It’s deeper than being in a happy mood all the time. Joy is a deep-down blessedness, a quiet, lifelong celebrating that we belong to Christ.

“Pray continually.” All day, every day, we get to talk to God. And even though we are sinners who should be shut out, God listens. Because of Jesus, he listens! He listens to our prayers, whether they are out loud or silent, thought out or spontaneous, from a prayer book or in our own words. He listens to our thanksgiving, as Paul says: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” So much to give thanks for. So many blessings from our gracious God. Though we too often complain or fall into self-pity or a sense of entitlement, our gracious God loves us and forgives us. He gave his own dear Son Jesus to earn full forgiveness for us by his death on the cross. And on top of that, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, for time and for eternity.

Short. Concise. But nothing fluffy about these little sayings. They are God’s wisdom. They give his encouragement and daily help. They carry God’s own blessing: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

These little sayings don’t belong in fortune cookies. They belong in our hearts and lives.

See series: Devotions

Dear Father, feed me with your divine wisdom. Give me daily joy. Hear my constant prayers to you in Christ. Lead me in thankful living in all circumstances. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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