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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Formation Week 3

When I was assigned to Southwest International (Mexico/USA) Mission Centre, I had several pastors who were part of the World Church pilot Co-Missioned Pastor Initiative. They were all busy people, so I was a little surprised at how eager they were to leave home and travel half way across the country to study. I learned, however, that studying was only part of the picture. These pastors were excited to be together. They had found in each other, peers with whom they could share common problems, issues and frustrations as well as joys, successes and testimonies. The cohort had become a powerful, spiritual support group.

This week the group of twelve pastors who make up Canada East Mission’s pilot CPI are meeting together for their third and last formation week. There will be one more weekend gathering in the spring, but this is their last week-long training session. I’m sure they are looking forward to a great week together.

This time around they will be blessed to have President Becky Savage of the First Presidency of Community of Christ and Jim Poirier from the Presiding Bishopric as guest instructors. Marion Smith will make a “guest” appearance as an instructor mid-week, and Doug Bolger will coordinate the week as well as teach. I will also try to make a contribution. In addition, Nelson Rosales from World Accord will join us for a session as will Paul McKenna from Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department. I anticipate a great experience together.

This fall, the emphasis is on some of the “nuts and bolts” a pastor needs to know and understand. Having already been instructed in such topics as scripture, theology and spiritual formation, now they will concentrate on some of the practical aspects of administrative leadership. The list of subjects is long, but some of the basic elements include forming and working in teams, conducting business meetings, and narrative or mission based budgeting.

Oh dear, I think I just heard someone groan! You may not think that list of topics very exciting, but when you think of who is teaching, it probably gets a whole lot more interesting. Who wouldn’t want to spend time learning from one of the presidents of the church? Further, I firmly believe Jim Poirier’s passion can make any of us excited about the budget as a tool of mission! It is wonderful to have instructors of this caliber available.

Still, the teaching is only part of the picture. This group will also join together in worship and fellowship (read fun). They will have time to talk together, to brainstorm ideas and share experiences. Because they are now in year three of this program, they will assemble with hearts already open to each other. They have learned to trust each other and to allow themselves to be vulnerable to both human and divine grace. It is a very good thing.

As we look to the future of the mission centre, we need to provide more opportunities for this kind of sharing and learning, not just for this group of pastors, but for all of us.

*(picture is from 2010 formation week 2 with Apostle Susan Skoor and Jane Gardner, President of the High Priests' Quorum)

Posted by Carman


  1. excellent blog post Carman and i am so happy for all of the folks who will gather!

    one of the things i am hearing, when i travel, is that people, not necessarily pastors and not necessarily priesthood, really want discipleship and leadership training... kind of fits in to "develop disciples to serve" Mission Initiative!!! ;)

    i am really glad that we are looking at avenues to provide this training for people! education is a great thing!

    perhaps we should find those who would be willing to get gatherings together for priesthood members as well... have jane gardiner come up for a weekend... kris judd, hey, have dr doug and marion do their "thing"! we have some wonderfully talented people in our own mission centre as well!

    giving people an opportunity to come together, be together, work together and stay together is vitally important...

    "just sayin"


  2. I'm glad you're hearing these things John. I am reminded, however, of some of my "early days" when folks would ask "Who is offering classes?"

    My response was usually some version of "what do you want/need to learn?" If you have a need I'll help you offer it. I'll find you an instructor, or come teach it myself. If you've got "two or three" then we can make it happen.

    I'd still love to receive such a call, from a congregation or a cluster group. If you want to learn something, then you can make it happen.

    We've still got a tendency to think something big with someone from afar--and those events take time and extensive planning. Hence, we have fewer of them. But there's no reason at all not to have more, smaller learning opportunities. If people really DO want to learn, then make it happen.

    Hugs all,


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