Supportive Ministries: Nurturing the Soul of the Beloved Community

Nurturing the Soul of the Beloved Community – Providing resources and insights for navigating this challenging time

Dear friends,

During this ongoing pandemic, life in the Church has changed dramatically. We have heard the desire from many of you to create a space for the support, nurture and guidance of congregational life and pastors during the coming year.

The Wisconsin Conference features a periodic communication called Nurturing the Soul of the Beloved Community. The purpose of this initiative is to share resources and tools, wisdom and insight, for these challenging days.

In her timely new book, How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Susan Beaumont introduces us to the concept of a “liminal” season — a space in between what was and what will be. It is a place of transition and a time of waiting, with more questions than answers. The liminal space created by COVID-19 brings anxiety, fear and unknowns, yet it also prompts pause, reflection and adaptive practices. We in the Church are in the emerging stages of a transformation, but it’s too early to identify exactly what that looks like! And so, we have some prayerful discerning to do. Indeed, the Holy Spirit will lead us.

We in the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ share this “Nurturing the Soul” space to lift up programs, writings, tools and strategies for nurturing and enhancing congregational life during this time of social distancing. Each edition will highlight a rich and meaningful article such as Bob Ullman’s Worrying, Wandering, Wondering. We will also include additional resource links and information about several support and nurturing programs available to your congregation and pastor.

Together we can strengthen each other, and together we will not merely endure this liminal season, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds and hearts!

In Christ,

Franz Rigert
Conference Minister

Supportive Ministries Resources for Congregations

With this Pandemic, a renewed racial justice reckoning and other uncertainties, our world and our culture are changing.  So is our church. As we move into this new reality, we want to bring the best of the past into a future of transformation.  Some of the Supportive Ministries of the Conference have adapted to help congregations move into that future.  Consider participating in one of these strategies to support your work. Find more info here.

Wisconsin Conference Supportive Ministries Team

Top row from left: Bob Ullman, Lisa Hart, Bonnie Andrews. Bottom from left: Cathy Wille, Tim Perkins

If you have questions or suggestions for the Supportive Ministries Team please contact Lisa Hart.

Sign up to receive Nurturing the Soul, a periodic communication containing thoughtful and inspirational messages and helpful resources for individuals and congregations navigating the pandemic.

Worrying, Wandering, Wondering by Rev. Bob Ullman

How shall we get through our uncertain days? Where do we and where will we find ourselves in the middle of this monumental time?

As our congregations and our people continue to struggle through the uncertainties brought on by the ongoing COVID pandemic, a faltering economy, a renewed racial justice reckoning and a continued and growing threat to the environment, we find ourselves betwixt and between. We are betwixt what was once familiar and a new reality coming from a distant future that remains unseen. Finish reading this article from Rev. Bob Ullman


Recommended resources for the journey

Articles and books:

How to think about what’s next when the future is unclear by Nathan Kirkpatrick – COVID-19 presents us with overwhelming daily challenges, but we must also begin to consider what’s ahead. Kirkpatrick, managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, writes, “…given that the future will be different in ways that are not yet knowable, I need to develop multiple visions of the future, and congregations (and other organizations) need to do the same.”

I find that Susan Beaumont’s new book, How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going”, provides wisdom for these days. Beaumont talks about leadership in in-between times, when the old way is gone but the new way has not yet emerged. I believe that we won’t go “back to normal,” but that we are in the midst of a major shift, that we are being invited into a new way of being and doing worldwide. While we wait for the future to come into focus, we move by the light that we have. We will continue to listen and discern and seek to be faithful, step by halting step.  Like the disciples, our worlds have been turned upside down. Like the disciples, we need to learn to lead when we don’t know where we’re going. And like the disciples, we need to continue to pray and listen and be faithful, one step at a time. Book summary from Margaret Benefiel, executive director of the Shalem Institute

“Yes, AND: A Response To The Stories Of Pastoral Angst,” by Mark Tidsworth, founder of Pinnacle Leadership Associates. “Have you seen enough articles about pastoral distress by now? The prevalence of these written pieces clearly indicates that pastors are struggling. Though accurate, these articles don’t tell the complete story. Here’s another article that rounds out the narrative. This could be helpful as a conversation starter.”

Contact Lisa Hart with questions.

Supportive Ministries Resources – Check out these resources to support clergy and congregations during the pandemic, and transitioning beyond.

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(608) 846-7880