Mutual Ministry Review

Here are links to Episcopal Church USA's page for the Office for Ministry Development.

This site describes the development of the Mutual Ministry Review process as history, and gives helpful introductory information about the process itself.

In my research, this is the most cogent and useful of the main denomination sites offering information on a ministry review process.  Most denominations assume the ministry review process is about clergy. The Mutual Ministry Review process available here is a comprehensive and flexible tool for the entire congregation's use and benefit, allowing the ministry and mission of all members to be raised to an equal standard of accountability.

This link offers a direct download of the ECUSA's Mutual Ministry Review process in its current edition.

Clergy Support Systems

For leaders looking for good clergy support systems, I recommend contacting a Samaritan Center for counseling, consultation and education. Samaritan Centers are part of a national organization responding to individuals and congregations crisis needs.

For the central Pennsylvania, the link is for the Samaritan Counseling Center in Lancaster, PA.

For the West Chester and Philadelphia area, another good option for clergy support is the Center for Integrative Learning, at the following link:

New and Exciting Options in Congregation Development

The Church Development Institute has been training church leaders and clergy in organization development for two decades. Most of that time the center was located in New England. Currently, CDI is centered in Seattle, WA.

Bob Gallagher's own description of CDI is better than any paraphrase I could offer. He says, "CDI is an intensive leadership training program...focused on the ministry of developing the spiritual, community and organizational life of a congregation through a hands-on approach to learning." See more details following this link:

A promising alternative to the CDI training program is the new training option, Shaping the Parish. Again, Bob Gallagher's description of this program that he co-founded with Michelle Heyne: "A new training program for parish leaders...focused on making immediate, tangible improvements while building long-term health." See more details following this link:

An excellent reading resource is the companion set of books by Bob and Michelle, In Your Holy Spirit, Shaping the Parish Through Spiritual Practice (Bob Gallagher) and In Your Holy Spirit, Traditional Spiritual Practices in Today's Christian Life (Michelle Heyne). These two books are good reading, shed fresh light on the problems of being Christian and being formed and transformed within a parish setting, and put language to questions and wonderings that really matter in the church today. The books can be used in groups for study during Lent or Advent, and they would make superior training resources for leaders. A vestry or a session could profit from devoting 15 minutes of every meeting to a discussion of any question or issue raised in these books, since the topic is always the health of the parish and congregation. Order the books from the Episcopal Bookstore, "an independent ecumenical place"

Retreat Sites around the countryIf you are looking for a good place to have a retreat, or for retreat sites that offer excellent programs members of your congregation might find helpful, the following links give good guidance. I've listed them in order of preference for usefulness and clarity.

CAVEAT: Most retreat centers are booked a year in advance. Call anyway, there might be a cancellation, but consider it good planning to work a year ahead.

These first two sites are general resource guides for retreat centers, state by state. If you are looking for a place to hold a retreat, these are good resources.

Here is a link to search for Episcopalian retreat centers nation-wide.

Here is a link to search for Presbyterian retreat centers, nation-wide.

This link takes you to retreat centers in Maryland, which can be reached from central and southern and south-eastern Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, and the D.C. area.

Retreat sites recommended by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington D.C. are listed below.

This is a link to Ghost Ranch, a unique United Presbyterian retreat center in New Mexico.

Ghost Ranch also hosts the contemplative retreat space, Casa Del Sol, where JP Newell, the Celtic scholar and theologian for the Cathedral on the Isles of Cumbrae, is summer theologian in residence.

Retreat Houses

Here are a few good specific sites I recommend for scheduled retreats, or individual retreats, or for holding your church's leadership retreats. These are in the New York City region, the Philadelphia region, and Central Pennsylvania. There are many sites in every state (see above links).

House of the Redeemer, on E. 95th Street in New York City, offers day and overnight retreat space for church conferences and retreats. A uniquely dedicated place of contemplation, reflection and renewal in New York City.

The Order of the Holy Cross, a Benedictine Episcopalian order, offers wonderful hospitality and contemplative peace in scheduled and personal retreats in all of their monasteries. Church leaders can schedule spiritual retreats here. This link is for the Monastery in West Park, New York.

Stony Point is a retreat center of the Presbyterian Church with a ministry in emphasizing peacemaking and international encounters. A good place for a congregational retreat. It's also good for clergy and leader participation in conferences on a variety of topics relevant to current Christian witness in the parish. Stony Point is located on the Hudson River, 30 miles north of Manhattan and New York City area airports.

Recommended in Eastern Pennsylvania

Kirkridge is a retreat center founded in the 1940s.  Located on the Kittatinny Ridge of Eastern Pennsylvania near the Delaware Water Gap and Pocono Mountain region, the center offers planned retreats suitable for individuals, groups in the congregation, and clergy seeking personal retreat and renewal.

The Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA, offers space for your own planned leadership retreats, individual spiritual retreats, and also offers access to planned retreats centered on the spirituality of Ignatius Loyola. In addition, the Jesuit Center is a source for spiritual direction.

Black Rock is an excellent retreat site in the Lancaster County area, where retreats are offered, or where you can hold a family or small group retreat of your own planning, in wonderful surroundings equally suitable to intergenerational groups and single-focus groups. Both day retreats and overnight retreats are accommodated.