59 Line 4 North Oro-Medonte, ON L0L 2L0 | Phone: 1-800-268-3781
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What is Flourish?

Flourish is a program designed to encourage and support the health, joy and excellence of ministry personnel in Shining Waters Regional Council.

Ministry is a challenging profession and calling:

stacked stones on the beach

Flourish connects

Flourish provides opportunities for clergy to be with one another, to share experiences of ministry, to share challenges and opportunities, and to talk about what it means to be a minister in the United Church of Canada.

Flourish nourishes

Sometimes what we need is time away from our responsibilities as church leaders. Flourish provides time and space to retreat, to engage in personal reflection, to be ministered to as ministers, and to have fun with colleagues.

Flourish enhances

Flourish provides programs and events to help ministers continue their life-long learning. Through conferences, webinars, special courses and other learning opportunities, Flourish connects ministers with people and resources who help build the skills and knowledge that ministers need to inspire and lead in their ministry, and to respond to the constantly emerging needs of their congregations, communities and the wider world.

Clergy Peer Learning Groups

Clergy Peer Learning Groups are all about ministers helping ministers thrive.  After two years of COVID-19, ministers have spoken about growing isolation.  The purpose of Clergy Peer Learning Group initiative is to provide a safe and supported space for up to eight groups of ministers to meet in order to decrease feelings of isolation and more importantly, to provide a space for new learning rooted in Deep Spirituality, Bold Discipleship, Daring Justice.

Participation in Clergy Peer Learning Groups have proven to support minister’s health and joy in many ways: ministers are better at balancing their personal life and ministry;  ministers are more active in community outreach, as are the congregations they serve; the kind of shared ministry that ministers experience in peer learning groups is also reflected in the churches they serve and among area churches; ministers with a history of peer group participation lead with congregations that grow in their vision and ministry. (from So Much Better: How Thousands of Pastors Help Each Other Thrive, Chalice Press, 2013).

Features of the Clergy Peer Learning Group program in Shining Waters Regional Council:

  • Regional Council staff provides administrative and cheerleading support to the logistics of getting your group together regularly
  • Self selected: each group chooses who will be in their group (7-8 persons per group); existing peer learning groups welcome to apply
  • Active or retired ministers, ministers from other denominations welcome to join
  • Focusing on a topic of interest for new learning rooted in Deep Spirituality, Bold Discipleship, Daring Justice, without institutional restraint. Your group chooses its learning focus
  • We especially encourage ministers in their first 5 years of ministry to apply!

If you have any questions please contact Todd McDonald at tmcdonald@united-church.ca

Looking for a Peer Learning Group?

Do you have a great idea for a peer learning group but are having difficulty finding people to join you? Or maybe you’re interested in trying a peer learning group but not sure how to connect? Coming soon, a list of topics being proposed and looking for group members to sign up. If you have an idea for a group and would like to be added to our list, please contact Donna Rutz at drutz@united-church.ca. Please include your name, email and learning focus idea and we will update our list accordingly. Check back soon for more details. 

 

image of a smartphone with wellbeing app on screen

Flourishing in Ministry Study and Well Being App

 

Many UCC ministers participated in a 2018 multi-denominational study of clergy well being. Designed and implemented by the WorkWell research group, it examined the everyday happiness, resilience, self-integrity, and thriving of thousands of clergy. The research group has identified these four areas as being critical to overall clergy well being.

1. Daily wellbeing: Do you have more days that are characterized by negative emotions such as frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, and anxiety, or more days that are characterized by positive emotions such as laughter, joy, satisfaction, enthusiasm and peace?

2. Authenticity: True self-knowledge. Knowing well one’s strengths and limits. Having a clear and positive self-identity. Knowing our core convictions and being able to engage in work that lives them out.

3. Resilience: The ability to bounce back from set-backs and adversity, and to learn from them. Self-awareness, self-control, and self-reflectivity are important capacities in resilience. The opposite of resilience is burn-out.

4. Thriving: Having a strong sense of meaning in life. Knowing what matters. Having a clear sense of purpose. Strong sense of curiosity and learning. Deep social connections.

Based on the study and other research, WorkWell has developed a free smartphone app that helps clergy to assess and improve their well being. The app provides a self-assessment tool that generates a profile of your well being in each of the above four areas and then based on that profile, suggests daily practices and tools to enhance areas that can be improved.

illustration of two trees leaning over title that says Trauma Informed Ministry

Trauma Informed Ministry: A Primer for Ministers and Ministries

Rev. Diane Strickland is a UCC minister who has done extensive research, writing and training on Trauma Informed Ministry. Ministry personnel are often on the front lines of dealing with the trauma of congregants and community members. And yet they don’t always feel equipped to the many traumatic situations that are brought to them.

Rev. Stickland has produced a primer on Trauma Informed Ministry that has four objectives:

1. To introduce trauma basics so you can recognize potential symptoms of trauma.

2. To begin establishing a theological foundation for understanding trauma.

3. To provide a practical framework of principles for effective and faithful Christian ministry to those affected by trauma and traumatic experiences.

4. To plant expectation within the community of faith for being transformed by this ministry.

Trauma Informed Ministry review sample – (PDF |  11 pages) For those interested in this book, the sample includes the Cover, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, and The Introduction (which names the six principles developed later).

Ordering and Licensing Information document (Word | 1 page) a document that might answer any additional questions on ordering and licensing the primer.

Licensing Terms for Trauma Informed Ministry (PDF | 1 page) a document that outlines the licensing terms for the primer.

 

Other Resources

Ministry Vitality – UCC resources to support ministry leaders in establishing healthy and vital pastoral relationships. Includes benefits and leaves, policies, and networking opportunities.

Ministry in a Digital Age

Rev. Andria Irwin from Pacific Mountain Regional Council discusses tools and tips for conducting effective on-line ministry (from November 2, 2021 forum with Shining Waters ministry personnel).

Staff Support

DALE HILDEBRAND

DALE HILDEBRAND

Pastoral Relations Minister

Phone: 416-231-7680  |  1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6261
Email: dhildebrand@united-church.ca

Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council

Location: Teleworks (part-time) from home in Toronto, Tuesday to Thursday.

Role: Dale encourages and supports ministry personnel toward health, joy, and excellence in ministry practice.

Contact Dale about: Conflict Resolution; Finding A New Minister; Lay Employees; M+P Committees; Licenses To Administer Sacraments; Pastoral Relationships Policy; Resources for Transition Times; Retirement; Sabbaticals; Sick Leave; Short Term Supply Ministers; Visiting Minister Options.  Dale is responsible for all the Communities of Faith and ministry personnel in the region that are located south of Highway 407.

 TODD MCDONALD

TODD MCDONALD

Pastoral Relations Minister

Phone: 416-231-7680  |  1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6235
Email: tmcdonald@united-church.ca

Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council

Location: Teleworks and works in the Guthrie Office.

Role: Todd encourages and supports ministry personnel toward health, joy, and excellence in ministry practice.

Contact Todd about: Conflict Resolution; Finding A New Minister; Licensed Lay Worship Leaders; Licenses To Administer Sacraments; Pastoral Relationships Policy; Resources for Transition Times; Retirement; Sabbaticals; Sick Leave; Short Term Supply Ministers; Visiting Minister Options. Todd is responsible for all the Communities of Faith and ministry personnel in the region that are located north of Highway 407.