THEME GROUPS developed out of the Journey Group model. For some, a two year commitment that involves extended periods of time for learning is not feasible for their lifestyle or their congregational life. Theme Groups allow for a learning community to form around a common theme for an eight month period. The group begins in October with an overnight retreat and ends in May with an overnight retreat. Monthly one-day gatherings occur between these bookend retreats. Past theme groups focused on Youth Ministry and Worship and the Arts. Currently a group is learning about Leadership at the Intersection of the Word and World.
If you have an idea and group in your location, let us know. We would invite a discussion about facilitating this learning process in your area.
Staying Open: Writing as an Act of Faith
"In fiction, as in faith, something from outside ourselves is breathed into us if we’re lucky and if we’re open enough to inhale it. I think writers...have to stay open in that way. They’ve got to play their hunches more and take risks more.” -Frederick Buechner
Have you ever thought about writing a book?
You probably already do a lot of writing: sermons, letters of recommendation, weddings, funerals, and the never-ending stream of emails. But you might dream of something more creative: a novel, a book of poetry, a family history, a children’s book, a memoir. Maybe you have been too busy, too scared, or too unfocused. This group will provide you with the space, time, support, accountability and resources, to develop your writing project.
At our monthly gatherings, we will:
-Share our projects and our progress with one another.
-Study an aspect of the creative writing process.
-Discuss the role of writing and reading in our lives and in the Church.
-Do writing exercises and work on our projects.
-Share a meal.
Between meetings you will:
-Write. Then write some more.
-Recieve personal feedback, support, and encouragement from the group facilitator.
-Contribute, as desired, to an online discussion board with other participants.
There are three special events as a part of this group:
1. The initial March gathering will coincide with the Cook Lecture Series at WTS. This year’s speaker is Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, and The Year of Common Things. We will join Ms. Norris for lunch.
2. In April we will attend the 2014 Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College.
3. Our October meeting will be a three-day writing retreat. (Location TBD)
(All costs are included for these events.)
This is an open group.
Application is open to ordained and non-ordained, experienced writers and dreamers. You do not need to be published, but you should have a good idea what project you would like to work on. For more information and to request an application, please contact Tara Macias (ext. 133) or Pam Bush (ext. 191) at Journey Center for Learning (616-392-8555) or visit the Journey website at www.westernsem.edu/journey. You can find more detailed information about the group here.
This group runs from March 2014 to November of 2014
Group Size: Up to 8 participants
Deadline for application: Dec 1, 2013
About the Facilitator
Rev. Adam Navis believes in the transformative power of writing. He has worked as a writer, editor, and administrator. His D.Min. studies focus on what the Church and seminaries can do to encourage better Christian writers. You can read a selection of his writing at themodernmonk.wordpress.com.
Applications for this group can be downloaded here.
Theotogs: Photographic Interpretations of Life & Faith
This group is currently underway. Applications are no longer being accepted.
Bring your camera and your “eyes of life and faith” (September 2013-May 2014)
Individually, and as a group, we will identify Biblical themes that set us on monthly “photo shoots”. At each gathering, there will be time for viewing and discussing our photographs. In addition, several professional photographers are scheduled to share their skills and creative “eyes” with us along our journey. Seeing the world around us, expressing our faith and view of life through the lens of a camera, composing photographs are what “theotogs” is all about.
Theotogs begins on Monday, September 9th at 9:00 am at Western Theological Seminary. The entire series encompasses nine monthly day-long photography experiences from September to May with the following practices when we meet:
Practice #1: Photographic Meditations
Practice #2: Skill Development
Practice #3: Lunch Together
Practice #4: Theme Selections
Practice #5: Photo Shoot Time
Theotogs also include an October "field trip" to Ludington State Park for a day with professional photographers Todd and Brad Reed and a tour of their art gallery in downtown Ludington. Check out their website at www.toddandbradreed.com.
Cost: $275 for the series which includes monthly lunches. We will attempt to meet once a month on Mondays, from September, 2013 to May, 2014.
Expectations: Everyone contributes photos and meditations, basic DSLR camera skills (and a DSLR camera) and an eagerness to learn and experiment with others.
Facilitator: Keith Derrick, Director of Journey Center for Learning
Western Theological Seminary