2014 Conference Wrap-Up
See resources from the conference here.
I want to share a few words with you about our annual conference held recently in New Orleans. It really was a wonderful experience, set just a few blocks from the historic French Quarter. I’ve been to many conferences where we were in a wonderful city and the schedule was such that I never ventured outside of the conference hotel. We made a conscious decision to encourage participants to join together and explore New Orleans.
Dr. Scott Morris of the Church Health Center (CHC) was our keynote speaker Thursday evening. He was the latest in a series of excellent speakers at our evening banquet. Dr. Morris shared incredible stories of his work at the CHC in Memphis, relating them to the importance of community health. It was inspiring and thought-provoking. A few workshop themes emerged:
We are so grateful to Scott and Holly Stoner for their continued presence and support of our ministry. Their Living Compass program was our primary sponsor this year. We continue to feature a variety of their programs in workshops, due to their consistently high attendance and reviews. This year, their workshops included:
- Living Compass Faith and Wellness Initiative
- Including adolescents in wellness ministry
- Healing Grief: The small group model
- Presentation on wellness advocate training, to be held at the Nicholas Center in Chicago.
Older Adult Ministries:
- Our conference began with Catherine Courtney from Tulane University discussing the importance of exercise throughout the aging process.
- The workshop on Alzheimer’s and dementia care for the congregation provided concrete tools for interacting with those affected by dementia.
- Ecumenical community outreach to seniors offered suggestions for safely allowing seniors to remain in their home as long as possible.
- End of life narrative for those that are terminally ill discussed the role of ministry to these patients.
- Warren Frelund, member of the Older Adults Ministry task force, discussed best practices in aging ministry programs.
John Sippola returned to continue our ongoing discussion of ministry to returning veterans, giving three workshops with his brother Mark. Each year, these workshops deepen our understanding of what it means to work with moral injury.
Other workshops included:
- A pair of sessions on the Affordable Care Act (also discussed at length in Dr. Morris’ presentation)
- Dealing with perinatal loss
- Recovery ministry (including time during the conference for an AA meeting)
- Episcopal responses to violence
- Arts workshops, including an exploration of sacred art, prayer beads, and music as health ministry
- Community collaboration and funding workshops
Finally, we closed Saturday with a discussion about the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and how they can be applied in local parishes, whatever potential natural disaster you face. Diana Meyers was an incredible host and arranged for us to see her mobile clinic earlier in the week. She and Mary Strange led a wonderful discussion about key strategies for disaster planning.
Many of our presenters encouraged us to share their handouts online. They are featured in the Resources section with the tag 2014 Conference. Stay tuned for an important announcement about our next conference!