By Laura Stephens-Reed
Each winter, the four regional directors for CBF Peer Learning Groups gather in Atlanta with Ruth Perkins Lee, CBF’s director of church engagement. We discuss the celebrations and challenges we’re seeing across the 100+ PLGs that CBF resources and plan for additional ways we can support clergy groups. Based on the 2019 meeting, here is some of what PLGs can expect in the coming year:
A shift from a breakfast to a reception at General Assembly for peer learning group conveners. Rather than setting your alarm for an early morning, you can enjoy an afternoon spread of finger foods, more informal conversation with other conveners, and a special swag treat – all at no charge to you.
Regional learning events. PLG staff will be planning gatherings around topics of import to clergy. Entire peer learning groups will be encouraged to attend. In addition, PLG staff will be looking for more ways to connect with conveners and with clergy seeking colleague groups at CBF state and regional meetings.
Electronic gathering space. Most ministers spend at least some time online, but PLG staff has not yet leveraged that reality to create connection across peer learning groups. That will likely change in 2019 as we seek the right platform for conveners to share resources and ask troubleshooting questions of one another.
Attention to clergy in new calls. Because finding a peer learning group is so critical to clergy health, PLG staff will be contacting CBF state and regional coordinators regularly to inquire what clergy have moved into their areas and whether those ministers have connected with a group yet.
Real-time grant updates. CBF Global maintains the list of which groups have requested funding each year, which means that conveners have had to contact PLG regional directors who have then, in turn, reached out to CBF Global to inquire if a group is eligible to apply for financial support. In the near future regional directors will be able to view the grant status list, making the lag time shorter between a convener’s question and the response.
The above changes will not roll out immediately, but we are working toward each of these ways to make it easier for clergy to get together for professional development and mutual support.
If you have suggestions related to Peer Learning Groups, or if you would like to start or connect with a group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.