Central District Worship Conference - Audience Singing

District offers training to bridge conflict, cultures

Attendees at the “Leading from the Heart” Worship Conference, Sept. 6, at Paoli UMC, learn a new style to an old hymn, taught by Mark Miller, who co-led the conference with Dr. Tonia Bennett, both of whom teach worship at Drew University.

The Central District’s “Leading from the Heart” Worship Conference, held Sept. 6 at Paoli UMC, was rich with discourse, demonstration and discovery about creativity, sensitivity and spirituality in worship. It spanned the spectrum from traditional to post-modern modes and methods of glorifying God and edifying God’s people. Look for a Web site feature article on that event in the coming week.

But now there’s more! The district is becoming a virtual academy of higher learning about challenging aspects of ministry for a new age. The worship conference included some necessary discussion about averting “worship wars” among church members with conflicting tastes. Next up are four more daylong interactive teaching events about ways to prevent, resolve and transcend conflicts in the body of Christ. There will be two Conflict and Mediation Skills workshops for clergy and laity, and two Conversations on Intercultural Communications for clergy and laity. What’s more, the Central District is not keeping its goodies to itself. All these bridge-building encounter sessions are open to the entire conference. So whosoever will, let them register without delay and attend.

Clergy and laity are invited to separate training events on Conflict and Mediation Skills this month. The Laity training will happen this Saturday, Sept. 13, from 9 am to 2:30 pm, at the Conference Center. (Relocated from Ardmore UMC due to a funeral.) It’s about helping laity to become more self-aware and skilled at turning conflict into cooperation, The highly interactive, fun workshop, facilitated by the Rev. Sharon Barley, pastor of Calvary UMC in Wyomissing, promises to instill hope and confidence in attendees to deal with difficult people and situations. Certified Lay Ministers will receive 0.5 CEU credits. The cost is $39, including training materials and lunch. Online registration is closed; but if you contact Darlene DiDomineck after today, you can still get in. You’ll just have to bring your own lunch.

A two-part Conflict and Mediation Skills training for clergy will follow on Sept. 24-25 at Hope UMC in Havertown (1108 Steel Road, Havertown, PA), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Also facilitated by Dr. Barley, this highly interactive training that includes personal assessment will equip pastors with an understanding of self and others, along with tools and guidance for managing conflicts and inspiring strategic change in the church. Candidates for ministry are welcome. Attendees can receive 1 CEU credit for 10 total contact hours. The registration cost is $159, including training materials, two online assessment tools and lunch. Registration will be capped at 36 participants and will close Sept. 18.

Two more workshops, titled Conversations on Intercultural Communications, will take place on Sept. 19 for clergy and Sept. 20 for laity, from 9 am to 3 pm each day, at Hope UMC in Douglassville (117 N. Monocacy Road). These initial conversations, led by the Rev. Dale Weatherspoon of the United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race, are designed to explain and explore the definitions and characteristics of race, culture, diversity, inclusion and intercultural competency. The primary focus will be to understand oneself as the basis of establishing capacity to understand and connect with others within one’s ministry context. The cost is $20, including lunch and materials. Clergy and CLMs can received .5 CEU credits. The registration deadline is Friday Sept. 12.

Questions? Contact Darlene at the Central District Office: 215-878-4607 or ddidomineck@epaumc.org.

By John Coleman, EPA Conference Communications Director