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Courage to Lead for Young Clergy & Community Innovators

Our next series is being planned for 2018.
Stay tuned!



Are you committed to faith work, but trying to sustain yourself in the midst of institutional tensions, relational expectations, and the internal pressure you feel to make a difference? Courage to Lead® for Young Clergy and Community Innovators offers a rare opportunity to renew, reflect, and reconnect with what matters most to your vocation. 

Over the course of two in-person gatherings and monthly peer calls, this retreat series provides opportunities to:

  • Slow down and disconnect from the busy pace of life so that you can hear the voice of God within.
  • Witness and be witnessed to, listen and be listened to by kindred peers—without performance evaluation, statusizing, or ego.
  • Name the “leadership moment” you’re in and investigate, talk through, and honor both struggles and successes while discerning a way forward.
  • Learn new skills for strengthening the capacity to ask open-ended questions, hold tensions, and build relational trust.

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Who should attend?

This program is for you whether you are a young leader in a church, congregation, or faith-based nonprofit or one who is discerning a path outside of institutional settings, such as artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and organizers. Participants will primarily include but not be limited to those ages 40 and under.

This program welcomes people from all religious traditions and walks of life. 

What happens at the retreats?

Thirty young leaders and four Courage & Renewal facilitators will journey with you in a three-part spiritual formation process that unfolds over six months. Together, we will engage in large and small-group dialogues focused on evocative texts and questions, experience silence, solitude, and journaling for reflection, and tell stories from our own lives. This will create a shared process of exploring the intersection of our inner lives and our leadership in the church and world. More information about our approach can be found in Parker J. Palmer’s book, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, or online at

Themes and Explorations

Retreat #1
Over four days, you and your colleagues will explore Courage & Renewal principles and practices that support faithful leadership:

  • Joining “soul” and “role” by leading from a place of wholeness.
  • Asking honest, open questions and applying deep listening to others and the voice of God within.
  • Embracing paradox in the face of challenges and complexities.
  • Building more trustworthy and compassionate relationships.
  • Discerning a greater sense of call in seasons of personal, professional and organizational change.

Monthly Peer Learning Circles
Over the following five months, you will practice integrating your learning and intentions within the realities of your roles. Five facilitated Peer Circle teleconferences (in small groups of 5-6) will provide opportunities for mutual sharing, listening and innovating.

Retreat #2
Our closing retreat will explore Parker Palmer’s Movement Model of Social Change, four stages in connecting our personal transformation to organizational renewal.

  • Isolated individuals reach a point where the gap between their inner and outer lives becomes so painful that they resolve to live “divided no more.”
  • Isolated individuals discover each other in groups that develop around declarations of personal need and operate by alternative ground-rules.
  • Empowered by communities of congruence, movement advocates find public voice.
  • Movements develop—and become—alternative reward systems, thus relativizing the sanctions that are the basis of every institution’s power.


Applying for this Program

Due to the strong interest that we anticipate for this program, we have an application process for selecting participants. We will be creating a diverse group of young leaders by attending to the following: a range of work settings as well as gender, race, geographical, and religious representation. Participation will be limited to 30 people and we anticipate more applicants than spaces available.

When you apply you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are your hopes for participation in Courage to Lead in terms of your work or leadership?
  • What is the setting or context in which your currently serve and how would you describe your roles & responsibilities?
  • What question are you currently holding about your life?

Contact Information
To discuss the program, contact Courage & Renewal Facilitator Kathryn McElveen,
To inquire about payment or registration, contact


"quote-L"quote-ROur deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks—we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.

– Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak