2017 Henderson Summer Leadership Conference and Henderson Lecture on Church and Ministry


Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology, Yale Divinity School

Leanna K. Fuller, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

David Jones, Affiliate Professor of Practical Theology, Nashotah House Theological Seminary


We often struggle to cope with conflict in our families, congregations, and communities. During this event, we will explore conflict and difference as challenges that hold potential for creative transformation.

Co-sponsored with Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute

Date / Housing / CEs

Preconference session, Wed., June 7, 2017, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Conference: Thurs., June 8, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-Sat., June 10, 2:30 p.m., 2017

Limited housing is available on the Seminary campus. To reserve a room, contact our reception office at reception@pts.edu or 412-924-1397.

Directions to the Seminary.

We anticipate that CE credits will be available for licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors who attend this event. More details will be posted at a later date.



Full conference: $150 includes meals but not lodging

Daily rate: $75/day includes meals


Wednesday, June 7, 2017 (Preconference session)

6:30-7:00 p.m. Registration
7:00-8:30 p.m. Screening of documentary:The American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story  Watch Trailer
8:30-8:45 p.m. Reflection at the end of the day

Thursday, June 8, 2017

8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00-10:15 a.m. Morning Worship
10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Session 1 with David Jones

Peace-Seeking in a Polarized World: Family Systems Perspectives on Leadership
Have you noticed? American society has become more surly; our culture more contentious; and our communities more conflicted. We are more anxious, short-fused, and churlish. Amidst our current polarized climate, whare are peace-seeking persons to do? Together, we will explore how Dr. Murray Bowen's concept of "differentiation of self" explores practical and hopeful tips on how to manage and navigate conflict less reactively through creative application of his theory. Presentations of relevant case studies will also be used.

12:00-1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15-2:15 p.m. Small Groups
2:15-2:30 p.m. Break
2:30-4:00 p.m. Session 2 with Leanna Fuller

Engaging Difference, Fostering Hope: Practicing Leadership and Care in Community 
Conflict in faith communities often arises when we encounter difference - especially in places where we expect mostly sameness. Yet, engaging difference constructively has the potential to strengthen relationships and promote communal flourishing. This presentation aims to help leaders and caregivers recognize conflict as an opportunity to foster hope, even in the midst of complex challenges.

4:00-5:00 p.m. Small Groups
5:00-7:00 p.m. Dinner / Break
7:00-8:30 p.m. Henderson Lecture on Church and Ministry with Miroslav Volf / Free and Open to the Public

Before Embrace 
What must happen before people who are estranged from one another can embrace? To ask this question is to inquire into the constitutive elements of reconciliation. I will suggest four such elements and then explore the character of “reconciled existence.”

Friday, June 9, 2017

8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00-10:15 a.m. Morning Worship
10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Panel Discussion with Henderson SLC Speakers; Moderated by Jen Kottler, Interim/Transitional Pastor, PCUSA
12:00-1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15-2:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions
2:20-3:20 p.m. Breakout Sessions
3:20-3:30 p.m. Break
3:30-5:00 p.m. Panel on Self-care and Embodied Practices with Leanna Fuller, Karen Rohrer, Director, Church Planting Initiative, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and BJ Woodworth, Lead Pastor, The Open Door
5:00-7:00 p.m. Dinner and Free evening to explore the city

Saturday, June 10, 2017

8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00-9:45 a.m. Introduction of Different Self-care Practices
9:45-10:00 a.m. Break
10:00-11:30 a.m. Self-care Practices

Grace Under Pressure: The Art and Science of Self-Care and Self-Awareness with Joanne Spence
Do you treat your body as a necessary nuisance or as a gift from God? Come and rethink 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. Learn the benefits of breathing and restorative movement and the neuroscience behind it.

Dwelling in the Word with Scott Hagley
Dwelling in the Word is a simple, portable, yet powerful practice that helps congregations learn to listen to God, the Scriptures, themselves, and one another. In this seminar, we will introduce the practice, and think together about the ways in which it can be used in a congregational context.

Come Walk the Sacred Path with Rebecca Cole-Turner
People around the world have been creating and walking labyrinths for over 4000 years to their spiritual benefit. Labyrinths are prayer and meditation tools we can use to enhance and expand our spiritual growth, to open our hearts and minds to greater knowledge of self and deepen our relationship with the Beloved, our Creator, the One who is our Source.

We will begin with a brief history of labyrinths, a review of some common types of labyrinths, and a discussion of how people of all faiths have them through the centuries. We will share with each other our previous experiences of praying the labyrinth and its meaning for our spiritual lives. Those who have never walked/prayed a labyrinth before will have time to ask questions. Then each of us will spend some individual time in prayer before we begin our walks. During the last half of our workshop, we will each walk and pray the cloth labyrinth as we are each led, and will then write a brief reflection to keep and take with us when we are done.

Evocative Companioning with Martha Robbins
How do you practice wise mind, compassionate heart, and prudent action in the midst of conflicting situations? To whom do you turn when you want to sift through multiple thoughts and feelings to discern your authentic response arising from your deepest identity in Christ? Many people engage in such discernment practices with special spiritual friends or with a spiritual director, who evokes a deeper sensitivity and responsiveness to the Spirit-Life within one’s self, others, and the situations you encounter. Join us in this interactive workshop to discover why and how the ancient Christian practice of spiritual direction can be life-giving to you and to those in your congregations.

A Praxis-Oriented Faith with Brock Bahler
Contemporary research shows that the body is not only necessary for mental processing, but fundamentally shapes conceptual thought. One implication of this claim is that praxis precedes theory: habits and movement change brain chemistry, experience guides belief, and stories and rituals are the ground of theology. In light of this research, we will draw on the five practices that shape the Open Door Church to explore what it means to cultivate a praxis-oriented faith community.

11:45 a.m. Closing Worship / Lord’s Supper / Lunch


E-mail ConEd@pts.edu or call 412-924-1345.