Web of relationships

Probably the singularly most helpful continuing education event I have ever attended since being ordained and beginning my work in vocational ministry was a week-long workshop led by Rev. Richard Blackburn, Executive Director of the Mennonite Peace Center in Lombard, IL. He taught us about understanding how Bowen family systems theory can help us understand what makes the fascinating web of relationships of our congregations work. Key learning took place for me during the first half of the first day of the weeklong seminar, so the rest was just icing on the cake. The opening Brigitof that seminar introduced me to the truth that congregations are just like families, regardless of the size of their size, and they operate under the same basic principles that all group human relations do. A key component to understanding how we humans operate with one another lies in understanding how we manage anxiety in our relationships. In a very simplified description, when the energy or anxiety increases between two people, we include a third person, we create a triangle, to help us hold it all. This is true of good and exciting energy as well as tense and stressful anxiety-producing energy. So, the triangles of relationships are not inherently bad (a previous buy famvir uk belief I’d held), they are tools that can be helpful or harmful to relationships depending on how they are used.

Mind blown.

Insight for the whole week gained in the first two hours.


You have an exciting opportunity to hear from Richard on the topic of “Leadership and Anxiety In the Church,” on Thursday, November 5th at Plymouth UCC-Des Moines. I cannot recommend this event enough to you. His teaching is sound and wise and his soul is gracious and compassionate. He loves the church. He loves the leaders of the church. And he is incredibly gifted at imparting truth and wisdom to those who listen. The link to the registration for the event is below. This is an event for all leaders in churches, not just paid staff or authorized ministers. Particularly in this day and time and in congregations such as ours in the United Church of Christ, everyone may be influential in formal and informal ways in the church, therefore may be a leader. I commend to you this one-day event to encourage your skills and abilities to be a leader in these anxious times of the church.


Blessings for the journey,




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