Disciples News Service

Training in compassion practice offered

Join Clergy at the Clergy Retreat-Resilient Hearts, Leaders and Communities being offered at Wakonda Christian Church in Des Moines, IA on July 18-20 (just a couple of days before Assembly).

You will have an opportunity to find rest, learning and practice compassion while seeking justice.

Our keynote speakers include Dr. Christopher Carter from San Diego University. After hearing Dr. Christopher Carter speak at a conference last year, Green Chalice Associate Minister, Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri was challenged by the ideas connecting social justice, food and faith.  “I tentatively asked Dr. Carter about the ways the spiritual life informed his justice work and he quickly told me about the compassion practice.” Hardin-Nieri was intrigued and found out from colleagues that the Compassion Practice, developed by Dr. Frank Rogers at Claremont School of Theology was not only helping people become better pastors, parents and partners but that it also was useful in congregational life particularly with potentially controversial conversations. You will receive connection with other clergy friends and colleagues and sense of connection to God, learning about creation care science and new tools for ministry. It will be a gift to gather with one another on retreat and learn together ways to engage compassionately as we explore difficult topics like race, creation care, climate shifts, and poverty. Ministry supporters include Disciples Home Missions, Christmount Christian Assembly, Green Chalice, Global Ministries, Bethany Fellowship, Blessed Tomorrow, DHM’s Family and Children’s Ministries.

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.” Often this divisiveness leaves us angry, exhausted, and disappointed. 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?

The program, Engaged Compassion for Social and Personal Transformation, integrates the Compassion Practice with education about complex and often divisive community and global 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 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. Join us.

Companions and Teachers

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) he explores the intersectional oppressions experienced by people of color, the environment, and animals. 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.