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A parish development clinic - 2018

Evaluation of 2018 Clinic 




The clinic: An integration of practical parish issues and Anglican pastoral/ascetical theology and strategy. With a touch of organization development.  Participants come having read 4 books (yes, a lot of reading to get done before arriving). They each take a self administered exam based on the readings. This allows each participant to know that all other participants come ready to engage the work.

Each participant will prepare several assessments in a format provided by the trainer/coaches. That format will be a mix of hard and soft data, ascetical/pastoral theology, organization development all wrapped around a real need in parish life.  When we gather the trainer/coaches will facilitate a process in which the participants engage one another and the coaches around the assigned issues in relation to each person's work as a parish priest.

Registration: Registration is now closed. If you are interested in future offerings, please contact Michelle Heyne

Participants: Must be the priest-in-charge of a parish church (a vicar, rector, priest in charge) 

Dates: February 6 - 9, 2018 

Location: Saint Paul's Church, 15 Roy Street, Seattle, WA

Participants: four

Trainer/coaches: Michelle Heyne, OA and Bob Gallagher, OA.  See toward bottom of the page for information.

Travel: Participants need to plan on traveling to Seattle on Monday the 5th (or prior to that) and departing on Saturday the 10th (or a date after that).

Full Participation: No late arrivals or early departures. Present every day from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm  Please arrive between 9:00 and 9:05 am.  At 9:10 am we will move from the meeting room to the chapel for Morning Prayer. We'll do that together because the door we enter through needs to be locked when we aren't present. 


Note: On Wednesday evening we'll gather at Bob's apartment for dinner. It's a ten minute walk after Evening Prayer.

Tuesday- Friday. 9:00 am - 6:00 pm  To be revised 

9:00 Arrive

9:10 move to chapel

9:15 Morning Prayer

9:45 Work session 

Lunch - in neighborhood

1:15 Work session

3:00 break

3:20 Work session

5:30 Evening Prayer

6:00 End for day


Advance work

1. Read 4 books. You need to come being very familiar with the material in the books. Please read them again if you haven't read them recently.

Fill All Things: The Spiritual Dynamics of the Parish Church, Robert Gallagher, OA

Pastoral Theology: a reorientation, Martin Thornton

The Nearness of God: Parish Ministry as Spiritual Practice, Julia Gatta

Shaping the Parish: A Theology of the Parish Church, Michelle Heyne & Robert Gallagher --will be available to clinic participants as a PDF draft

2. By December 10 - take the exam that is based on the books you have read. The Exam  Return it to Michelle Heyne. Note - you can use the Word document by typing in it and emailing that to Michelle. Or you can download it, write in your answers, scan it and return it to Michelle. Do as much as you can without opening the books during the exam.

3. Prepare using the materials provided at the bottom of this page (you have also received it by email). There will be some reading related to each special topic (in addition to the four books).  


Core norms

1. Arrive having completed all the advance reading and written preparation. Having taken, self marked and passed the exam that is based on the readings. 

2. Be present 9:00 am - 6:00 pm every day. We begin with Morning Prayer at 9:15 and end with Evening Prayer at 6:00.  May change start and end times as we get closer.

Each session - Participants will present their thinking based on the format provided   Michelle and Bob offer observations and theory. Other participants offer own observations 

Each participant arranges and pays own costs -- hotel, meals, travel. There is coffee available at Cafe Ladro and Metropolitan Market.

Workshop fee of $200 (for those who are not members of the Order of the Ascension).


Hotels in the neighborhood  - all with a few blocks

MarQueen  - Just around the corner

Mediterranean Inn 

Inn at Queen Anne 

The Maxwell  


Four Points Sheraton


The trainer/coaches

Robert Gallagher, OA brings 40 years of experience in leadership training and parish development. Bob offers exceptional skills in facilitating shifts and changes in people and organizations. He provides practical methods and vision for a transformed parish. Bob has a masters degree in Organization Development from Goddard College. He lives in Seattle.

He’s been a consultant and trainer in religious systems, non-profit organizations and small businesses since 1970. Bob has been a parish priest; on the staff of or consultant to ecumenical training organizations, an industrial mission and metropolitan and state councils of churches. He served as the congregational development officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut from 1981 - 88. He has consulted with hundreds of congregations. He has served as adjunct faculty in congregational development at Hartford Seminary and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and in Anglican Studies at Bangor Theological Seminary. He was Director of the Church Development Institute at the General Theological Seminary from 1985 - 2000 and continued as the Director of the Church Development Institute - Seattle until in 2011 when that changed to Shaping the Parish. In recent years Bob served as the Associate Priest for Ascetical and Practical Theology at Trinity Church, Seattle and as a priest associate at Saint Paul's Church and Saint Clement's Church, Seattle. He attends Saint Paul's, Seattle.  An article in the Washington Post on Bob's work.  Bob is a Professed Member of the Order of the Ascension.

Writing: Fill All Things: The Dynamics of Spirituality in the Parish Church, Ascension Press, 2008. Parish Assessment Workbook, Coauthor, a manual for conducting a self-study, Ascension Press, 1988; Faith Sharing, Coauthor, exercises for groups exploring life histories and spirituality. Ascension Press, 1989; Conformed to Christ: Structures and Standards for Parish Life, Coauthor, guidelines and samples of job descriptions for staff and committees. Ascension Press, 1983, revised 1988 and 2004 as a CD; Power from on High: A Model for Parish Life and DevelopmentAscension Press, 1982; Stay in the City, A strategy for dioceses in regard to urban parishes. Forward Movement, 1981; The Ministry of the Laity as Agents of Institutional ChangeAudenshaw Documents, 1972 and a shorter version in Asian Focus, East Asian Christian Conference, 1971. In Your Holy Spirit: Shaping the Parish Through Spiritual Practices, 2011. Understanding from Within: Working with Religious Systems, OD Practitioner, with Michelle Heyne, January 2015.  “Quality & Empowerment: Organization Development at WomenRising 1992 – 2016.”, with Michelle Heyne, Spring 2016 OD Practitioner. Books in process include:  Eucharistic Spirituality: From Audience to Congregation; Shaping the Parish: A Theology of the Parish Church, with Michelle Heyne

Michelle Heyne, OA brings empathy, humor, and a solid grounding in ecclesiology and effective organizational dynamics to her work as a trainer and consultant.  She is committed to helping parish leaders bring about effective change by developing the skills they need to make the most of the gifts they already have.  She has worked as a financial services executive for over 25 years and served as a parish lay leader for 15. Michelle lives in Seattle.

Michelle served as part of the training team with the Diocese of Washington and national Shaping the Parish.  She has also done training with and received a certificate from the Church Development Institute. Michelle also has completed NTL's Organization Development Certificate program. She is a consultant in the financial services industry for organization development and compliance issues. Michelle has extensive experience with financial management, interpersonal communications and team dynamics, and developing and implementing organizational change initiatives. She has non-profit experience in the areas of team building, strategic planning, and conflict management. She attends St. Paul's, Seattle.  Michelle is a Professed Member of the Order of the Ascension and the 8th Presiding Officer of the Order.

Writing: In Your Holy Spirit: Traditional Spiritual Practices in Today's Christian LifeUnderstanding from Within: Working with Religious Systems, OD Practitioner, with Robert Gallagher, January 2015;  “Quality & Empowerment: Organization Development at WomenRising 1992 – 2016.”, OD Practitioner, with Robert Gallagher, Spring 2016. Book in process: Shaping the Parish: A Theology of the Parish Church, with Robert Gallagher



Background: The Order of the Ascension has developed this one-time Parish Development Clinic. The idea emerged in our work on establishing an effective formation program for novices. Currently there are two novices. The clinic is just a small part of the overall formation program for the novices.

As we designed the program we realized that in addition to the two OA novices we could include two other people. We can manage a total of four participants --  the two OA novices and two others.


Advance Preparation Material

There are three elements to your advance work for the clinic. Each involves some reading. Most of that you will have already done (the four assigned books) – you will need to refresh yourself in a few chapters.

1. A broad assessment of your parish. That will include:

1)   The Shape of the Parish exercise on p. 123 of Fill All Things. In completing the exercise, it might be helpful to review the factors shown in “Assessing the Shape,” pages 152-154 of Fill All Things.

2)   An assessment of your parish’s spiritual practices using the IYHS Model (two pages on the model are in the Reading Packet; more detail is in the books)

3)   The Leadership Assessment (note – Martin Smith’s paper, mentioned in the assessment, “Pastoral Leadership Today” is in the reading packet

Please fill them out. Keep a copy for yourself to bring and send a copy to all the other participants, Bob, and Michelle.  Send to all participants and Bob and Michelle, no later than Tuesday January 23. Send it earlier if possible. Please hold all this material in confidence.

You should also come knowing some of the basic facts about your parish in case they prove relevant to the work – Average Sunday Attendance, trends on ASA, basic demographics of your region, parish financial health. No need to send any of that in advance. 

2. An assessment of the cultural density of your parish

1)   Review the readings noted in the introduction. Also read David Brooks, “How to Leave a Mark.” – in the reading packet

2)   Complete the assessment and bring it with you.

3. An ascetical reflection upon the polarity of individualism and community/commitment in the society and as expressed in your parish

There are two documents related to this:

1)   A packet of readings. You should read them, allow 2 or 3 days to pass and then complete #2 below

2)   The ascetical reflection packet – there are a series of questions to respond to

Complete the reflection and bring it with you.


Broad assessment of your parish


Cultural Density Assessment

Ascetical Reflection 

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