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Courage to Lead for Young Clergy & Community Innovators

Our next series is January 10-13 and June 7-10, 2017 near Atlanta, GA.
Applications are due Saturday, October 1, 2016.



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 ministry 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 ministry 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. We anticipate most applicants will be clergy and community leaders from the Christian faith. 

What happens at the retreats?

Thirty young ministry 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 January 10-13, 2017, 4pm Tues. to 12pm Fri.
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 ministry 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 — February – June
Over the following five months, you will practice integrating your learning and intentions within the realities of your ministry roles. Five facilitated Peer Circle teleconferences (in small groups of 5-6) will provide opportunities for mutual sharing, listening and innovating.

Retreat #2 — June 7-10, 2017, 4pm Wed. to 12pm Sat.*
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.

*Due to scheduling constraints of both the venue and facilitators, the second retreat takes place during the traditional Jewish observance of Sabbath. So that participants do not have to drive or travel before sundown on Saturday, we are happy to arrange a late departure or additional night of accommodation at the Calvin Center. Please e-mail Erin Lane <> to discuss your options.


Our Next Series

Courage to Lead for Young Clergy and Community Innovators

Calendarorange200x200RETREAT #1 — January 10-13, 2017 (4:00 PM Tuesday to 12:00 PM Friday)
PEER LEARNING CALLS — February to June, 2.5 hours once a month
RETREAT #2 — June 7-10, 2017 (4:00 PM Wednesday to 12:00 PM Saturday)

Venue: The Calvin Center is an Atlanta conference center uniquely situated in a natural setting just twenty miles south of the Atlanta Airport in Hampton, GA. Participants are housed in comfortable rooms in double accommodations. There may be a limited number of single rooms available for an additional fee. Please indicate your interest in single accommodations on your application form. 13550 Woolsey Road, Hampton, GA 30228

Cost: $600 all-inclusive for tuition, materials, room & board. The full cost for this program is $2400, however generous support from the Lilly Endowment and the Center for Courage & Renewal has allowed us to heavily underwrite these retreats.

Payment: Do not send any payment until you have been notified of your acceptance into the program. Decisions will be made by November 1, 2016, and decision letters will be sent by email to applicants at that time. If invited to the program, you will need to send in a non-refundable deposit of $100 by November 15th to accept your invitation and confirm your attendance.

Financial Aid: Due to the already discounted nature of this program, we have limited funds available for further financial aid. However, if you wish to request financial aid please read our policy and complete the application form at

Cancellation & Refund Policy: We understand that life challenges emerge and changes happen. If you find must cancel, you can receive a full refund minus the non-refundable deposit when you notify the Center at least one month before the program begins. Other than exceptional emergencies, no refund will be given if we receive your cancellation less than one month before the program state date. See full details of cancellation policy here.

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 ministry leaders by attending to the following: a range of ministry 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 ministry or leadership?
  • What is the setting or context in which your currently serve in ministry and how would you describe your roles & responsibilities?
  • What question are you currently holding about your life or vocation?

Apply online by October 1, 2016 at

Participants will be notified of acceptance by November 1st, 2016


Contact Information
To discuss the program agenda, contact Assistant Program Director, Erin Lane,
To inquire about payment or registration, contact


Your Courage & Renewal Facilitators

kathryn_mcelveenKathryn McElveen is a professional leadership coach (PCC), Courage & Renewal facilitator and ordained elder in the Western NC Conference of the UMC where she has served as a congregational pastor and leadership development consultant. Kathryn specializes in coaching leaders from the serving professions and designing and facilitating formational leadership programs. She is the co-author of Faith Coaching: A Conversational Approach to Helping Others Move Forward in Faith and The Faith Coaching Toolkit, which are being used to equip coaches in ministry settings around the world. Kathryn lives in Travelers Rest, SC, with her husband, Rimes, who leads an ecumenical campus ministry and intentional community at Furman University, and their four young children.

prince-riversPrince Rivers has served as a senior pastor since 1999. Since 2005, he has served among the people of United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Winston Salem, NC. Prince convenes, leads and consults with diverse groups of clergy and non-profit leaders. He has authored several online and print publications, including “One + One + One = Five”, a chapter in Pastoral Work: Engagements with Eugene Peterson. He is presently working on a preaching commentary on the gospel of John for Smyth and Helwys Publishers. Prince and his wife live in Winston Salem with their two young children.

Erin LaneErin Lane, M.T.S. (Duke Divinity School), works closely with the Center for Courage & Renewal to develop and facilitate programs that deepen the spiritual formation of people of faith and support healthy congregational life. She has also been prepared as a Courage & Renewal facilitator. A writer and speaker, Erin is the co-editor of Talking Taboo and author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe. She blogs on faith, feminism, and belonging at

anthony-sanduskyAnthony Sanduskys passion for church planting and community development is deeply rooted in Christian faith emphasizing love of God and neighbor. His heart leans towards faith based innovation, entrepreneurship and social change. He obtained the Bachelor of Arts from American Baptist College and Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. His research and ministry around race, religion, and culture has taken him to the Martin Luther King Papers Project at Stanford University, to England where he researched transatlantic slavery’s effects on the residents of Bristol, as well as into the prison systems of Tennessee, Louisiana, and New York City. An ordained elder from Mount Zion Baptist Church Nashville, Anthony shares his gift through inspirational teaching, preaching, and consulting. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


"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