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The Program Leaders


Robert Gallagher, OA has served as the vicar of inner city parishes in Philadelphia and Trenton; been on the staff of an industrial mission that helped lay people apply their faith to issues of justice and compassion in the workplace; and was the Associate Priest for Ascetical and Practical Theology at Trinity Church, Seattle. He was an adjunct faculty in Anglican Studies at Bangor Theological Seminary. He served as chaplain to the Northwest Chapter of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross. Robert serves as formation director of the Order of the Ascension.

He brings 48 years of experience in leadership training and parish development. Fr. Robert offers exceptional skills in facilitating shifts and changes in people and organizations. He provides practical methods and vision for a transformed parish. Robert has a masters degree in Organization Development from Goddard College. 

He’s been a consultant and trainer in religious systems, non-profit organizations and small businesses since 1970. Robert has worked on the staff of, and as a 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 was Director of the Church Development Institute at the General Theological Seminary from 1985 - 2000 and continued as the Director of the CDI- Seattle until in 2011. In recent years Robert served as a priest associate at Saint Paul's Church and Saint Clement's Church, Seattle. He's "somewhat retired" and now attends Saint Paul's, Seattle.  He is a Professed Member of the Order of the Ascension. Fr. Robert was the 1st and 7th superior, Presiding Brother, of the Order.

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, 1971In 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 CongregationShaping 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 superior, Presiding Sister, 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