Clergy Retreat

Resilient Hearts, Leaders and Communities 


Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 4:00 PM CDT
Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 12:00 PM CDT

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Wakonda Christian Church 
3938 Fleur Drive
Des Moines, IA 50321

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Scott Hardin-Nieri 
Green Chalice 

Clergy Retreat - Resilient Hearts, Leaders, Communities 

Date:  July 18-20, 2019  (a couple of days before General Assembly)

Location:  Wakonda Christian Church 
3938 Fleur Drive
Des Moines, IA 50321

Cost: The cost for the event is $50 ($75 after April 2). 

The price includes meals, space and program and does not include housing. Please contact us regarding scholarship or funding support.  If you are interested contact

Housing: Nearby housing suggestions include:

Hampton Inn Airport- You must call and reserve yourself say Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for this rate.  515-287-7300-Luz Nieto is a contact there. Rate per Night: $119 King per night  $129 2 Queens-Rate includes breakfast at hotel and shuttle to retreat and airport.   

Days Inn and Suites Airport  Rate per Night:$80-95 

Transportation/Shuttles can be provided from the Des Moines Airport with either of these hotels.  

We are hosting a clergy training retreat prior to the General Assembly in Des Moines, Iowa. The Retreat will be July 18-20, 2019, at Wakonda Christian Church. This retreat is being facilitated by Green Chalice and is born out of a desire to equip and empower faith leaders in Creation Care and to explore compassion and sabbath as a practice. We see compassion, nonviolence and loving our neighbors as key to healing the many divides within the North American context.  We hope that this time will integrate rest and learning about compassionate leadership, climate science, creation care, and social justice.  We will also connect with one another, have some good food and get outside a bit at the nearby park.  

Retreat Purpose: 

  •  Build compassion for self, others and creation across generations and races
  •  Build capacity for people and congregations to have difficult conversations
  • Support creation care and climate change efforts through the Carbon Neutral efforts of the denomination 
  •  Offer sabbath space for clergy and faith leaders to explore a cross- generational approach to compassion building
  •  Educate and empower one another in climate science, social justice and solutions 
  •  Connect with clergy who may not be connected to climate conversation or with one another
  •  Connect with greater Disciples clergy community for prayer and worship
  •  Equip clergy and faith leaders with tools to remain healthy and sustainable 
  •  Support creation care leadership with current and new leaders

As clergy and religious leaders we are called to go into communities and share the gospel of Jesus Christ - to bring good news to the poor, give sight to those blind to injustice, and work to free those who are oppressed. This sacred work can and should be exhilarating! However, our current social moment is fraught with political and theological ideologies that seemingly inhibit our mission of creating the beloved community “on earth as it is in heaven.” More often than not this divisiveness leaves us angry, exhausted, and disappointed. But what if our vocational and social justice commitments flowed from a place of compassion? How might we be able to do the work God has called us to do in ways that bring life to ourselves and our communities and respects the sacred worth of all Creation?  

We will work with Engaged Compassion for Social and Personal Transformation, which integrates the Compassion Practice with education about complex and often divisive social justice issues. The Compassion Practice is a spiritual path for connecting and re-connecting to the compassionate core within us. The practice is primarily focused on practical skills and tools that enable us to embody compassion and engage the world in compassionate actions for justice, healing, and transformation. The four-fold structure of the practice empowers us to center ourselves through grounding, cultivate compassion for oneself, cultivate compassion for others, and engage the world through compassionate actions that harness the wisdom revealed to us through this process. The foundations of this practice are in the vibrant and rich tradition of Christian mysticism, Internal Family Systems therapy, and physiological and neuroscience research on emotions and compassion. We hope that all participants will experience new ways of responding to the world’s most pressing needs with compassion, courage, creativity, and a commitment to personal and social transformation.

We also plan to offer a Climate Ambassador Training developed in collaboration with Blessed Tomorrow to help equip congregations in goals toward carbon neutrality.  

Our retreat companions include:

Dr. Christopher Carter

 Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter’s teaching and research interests are in Black & Womanist Theological Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Religion & Food, and Religion & Animals. His publications include The Spirit of Soul Food (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming), “Blood in the Soil: The Racial, Racist, and Religious Dimensions of Environmentalism” in The Bloomsbury Handbook on Religion and Nature (Bloomsbury, 2018) and the co-edited volume The Future of Meat Without Animals (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). In them, he explores the intersectional oppressions experienced by people of color, the environment, and animals. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego, a Faith in Food Fellow at Farm Forward, and Assistant Pastor at Pacific Beach UMC.

Dr. Seth Schoen

Dr. Seth Schoen’s research and teaching interests are in contemplative and spiritual practices, especially the cultivation of compassion. He is currently exploring how the Compassion Practice and critical race and racial formation theories mutually inform each other to create a spiritual path of renewal and transformation. As part of this effort, he has co-created a program, entitled Embodied Racial Awareness for Social Transformation, that seeks in part to facilitate conversations about race by grounding them in compassionate, open, non-judgmental, and non-reactive personal and inter-personal spaces.

Rev. Carol Devine-Minister of Green Chalice, Pastor of Providence Christian Church

Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri- Associate Minister Green Chalice, Director of Creation Care Alliance

Anita Fete Crews- Director of Blessed Tomorrow

Rev. Kate Epperly- Minister for Justice and Advocacy, Families and Childrens Ministries 

More Information

 This is being facilitated by Green Chalice and is born out of a desire to equip and empower faith leaders in Creation Care and to explore compassion and sabbathkeeping  as complimentary practices. We see compassion, nonviolence and loving our neighbors as key to healing the many divides within the North American context. The challenges we face impact all families and need the creativity and non-violent compassion across generations. While creation care and specific compassion practices  will be at the root of our time together, we will also be exploring non-violent action for climate change, racial equity and justice for families and children.

As ecological and social challenges increase the church needs faith leaders and communities who have clear minds and strong, resilient hearts.  Compassion building is important along side the work of increasing solar power, recycling, challenging environmental racism, increasing energy efficiency and all the work of the Church in the world.  

We hope to build capacity for the carbon neutrality goals and offer tools and skills to our leaders so they will encourage their churches and communities to do this good work. We also seek time and space to be together as clergy, to play, rest and to practice compassion is a way of practicing resilience in this difficult work.  We are building this retreat prior to the General Assembly to allow for more clergy people to attend and we are intentionally seeking a variety of ministries represented in the gathered group. 

The retreat schedule is fairly simple and will include time for Compassion Building, rest and training for creation care and climate change action (Blessed Tomorrow will support the climate change training portions).

Dr. Carter has used the compassion practice designed by Dr. Frank Rogers and Mark Yaconelli to facilitate difficult conversations regarding race, food and spirituality.