New for 2021!  Join us on the Second Saturday of each month for educational and spiritual growth opportunities.

Shine together as we learn together…

We will gather every second Saturday each month, online, from 9:00am to 12:30pm (Pacific) (please note this is a time change from previous months) for a time of learning and growing together. Each month will focus on one of three areas:

  • congregational transformation
  • justice ministries
  • spiritual growth

Quarter One 2021 Topics and Descriptions

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The Church has been in a prolonged season of change for many years, facing the changing religious landscape of our region with moderate success, and expending internal energy on transformation processes that haven’t worked well. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the rate of change in our congregations and the sense of urgency within the congregation for useful, possibly significant, change.

In this workshop, you’ll learn the basics of Adaptive Change – what it is, how it works, basic definitions and trends, and how to recognize it in your congregation. You’ll also receive a list of additional resources for continued exploration of this topic. This workshop will not give you a formula to go and try in your congregation, because, as you’ll learn, adaptive change is highly contextual.

Rev. Dr. Kara Markell is pastor of Lake Washington Christian Church and chair of the Northern Lights Regional Commission on Ministry. She is also a retreat leader and has worked with pastors and lay leaders seeking to engage in the process of transformation and adaptive action in their congregation. She received her MDiv from Brite Divinity School and her DMin from Seattle University. Her doctoral work focused on the link between Ecclesiology/Congregational identity and a congregation’s ability to engage in adaptive change.

Winter Talk is a conversation on the Christian Doctrine of Discovery (DOD).  Together we will spend time considering the DOD’s impact on Northern Light Disciples and our structure and theology. Winter talk is a space of accountability to the Native American voice and how that voice is heard when exploring the past, understanding the present, and visioning the future.

Jon Ghahate (Laguna & Zuni Pueblo), the Museum Cultural Educator at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will lead us through an Indigenous understanding of the DOD.  Born and raised on both the Laguna & Zuni Pueblos Jon is a parent, educator, and Vietnam Era Veteran.  Jon’s work is to “give a voice of resilience and authenticity for those who have come before us and our future generations of Pueblo peoples.”

Alongside Jon is Nathan Hill who is pastor of University Christian Church of Hyattsville, Maryland.  Nathan is originally from southwest Oklahoma, the son of a public educator and a nurse.  Nathan is also a Core Anti-Racism trainer for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Currently working on a Doctor of Ministry from Phillips Theological Seminary, Nathan will help us understand the DOD’s impact on our lives and the church.

“We give thanks to you, O Beloved, for You are kind;
your steadfast love endures forever!
— Psalm 118:1, from Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.
And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome the good.”
— Maya Angelou

By March 2021 we will have lived in the midst of a pandemic for one year. Is it possible to sustain, or even recover, a sense of gratefulness in such a time as this?

Over the course of this Lenten retreat we will explore the promise and practice of gratefulness through poetry, prayer, conversation, and various forms of meditation.

Laurie Rudel is a retired pastor and artist who now serves as faculty for and on board of the Grünewald Guild, an online learning and retreat center dedicated to the practice of art, faith, and community near Leavenworth, WA. She also serves on the board of the University Christian Church Legacy Foundation. Before the pandemic she and her beloved wife, Barb, sang at the bedside of hospice patients with the Seattle Threshold Singers. They live in Lake Forest Park, WA under a canopy of tall fir trees. 

Quarter Two 2021 Topics and Descriptions

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Since 1970, April 22 has been designated “Earth Day”, a day for focusing on the health of our planet. Our own denomination has embodied our commitment to earth care by designating the third Sunday of April “EArth Care Sunday.” Our Second Saturday to Shine in April will focus on  learning more about the Church’s call to creation care.

Rev. Carol Devine, Minister of Green Chalice, will be with us in the morning to share the theology behind the Green Chalice movement and its programs.  In the afternoon we will be joined by members of Northern Lights Region Churches who have joined the program to talk about their own process and work related to their Green Chalice commitment.

Join us in this opportunity to educate and activate yourself and your congregation to become more “green”.

Rev. Carol L. Devine is an ordained minister and the co-founder and minister for Green Chalice, the creation care ministry for the denomination. She has pastored two Kentucky congregations and is currently working in Admissions at Lexington Theological Seminary. Carol has three young adult children and she loves to do yoga, garden, hike, cycle, cook, dance, and read. 

Do you often hear yourself or others within the congregation saying, “it’s the way we’ve always done it”? or ” we tried that once before, it didn’t work”? or ” we can’t because the by-laws won’t allow it”, “we don’t have a quorum”, “no one wants to serve”, “we are tired.”  Are your by-laws holding you down? You know it’s time to revise them, maybe you’ve known for years. But the truth is most people don’t have the energy. It sounds and feels like a daunting task and so you simply continue to maintain the status quo until you arrive at a place where it is impossible.

Most people groan at the thought of by-laws revision. It just feels tedious and labored and well…boring. So, we put it off another year or do a cursory look and change a few words here and there maybe add a line or two. We rarely touch the core of the structure even if that structure no longer serves the needs of the congregation. In fact, it often impedes the congregation.

In this retreat we will explore a process for identifying and dismantling the institutional structure that prevents a congregation from fully transforming into who and what God is calling in the present context. We will use tools for analyzing by-laws through historical, cultural, legal and spiritual lenses in order to identify the heart of who our congregation is now so that our congregations may move forward with a new, lean, strong foundation. Honoring the past, living the present while fully embracing the future.

Please feel free to bring your congregation’s by-laws and history. This will be fun…. I promise.

Rev. Dr. Amy LaCroix has served as the pastor of First Christian Church in Olympia, Wa. for the past 10 years. Before migrating to the Pacific Northwest, she lived in Indianapolis, In. where she served as part of the ministerial staff at First Congregational UCC and Allisonville Christian Church where she helped to create and lead worship services designed for church weary people.  She has been a lifelong member of the Disciples of Christ. She is the daughter of two Disciples clergy. She received her MDiv from Christian Theological Seminary and her DMin from Claremont School of Theology. She attended Hope Academy’s Church Planter School and is a certified Intentional Interim Ministry from Interim Ministry Network. Amy’s passion and calling in ministry have been grounded in transformation and change. Her dissertation from Claremont was entitled: Dismantling Institution: Transforming Congregations.

This online retreat is shaped for those who haven’t ever used a labyrinth before, as well as those who currently use labyrinths in their spiritual practice. We will spend a bit of time getting to know labyrinths in the context of the Christian tradition, take some time for engaging our own finger labyrinths as a devotional, contemplative experience, and being prepared to step out at mid-day to do our own walking labyrinth project outside.

You will be provided access to an online resource map to see if there is a labyrinth you can use for mid-day solo time, or how to engage the sidewalk outside your home in a similar way. For those who are less mobile, you’ll learn ideas for using your finger labyrinth on your own as a way to spend some solo time during the mid-day.

The afternoon session will begin with a second finger labyrinth exercise, then move to check-in and reflect on mid-day solo time. Following, we will spend time according to group interest. Some ideas may include: how to build your own labyrinth, how to use a labyrinth as a space of sanctuary, ideas for bringing labyrinth practice into your congregational and/or other institutional life, and/or more.

You’ll want to make sure you have the finger labyrinth provided by the regional office, some color tools (pens, pencils, crayons, other), appropriate clothing for mid-day outdoors if you choose, and an engaging spirit to enjoy the day.

The Rev. Warren Lynn is a Disciples Pastor who has served congregations in Texas, Illinois, Washington and Montana. For the last eighteen years he has been on staff at Disciples Home Missions, a General Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Warren has used labyrinths in personal spiritual practice for around 30 years. Since 2000, he has also been teaching others how to incorporate labyrinth-work into their own spiritual life.  A Certified Advanced Labyrinth Facilitator through Veriditas, Warren also previously served on The Veriditas Council, to provide training and leadership to other labyrinth facilitators [].  He has consulted with many congregations and other organizations, helping them establish their own active labyrinth ministries. Warren is a ritual and liturgy creator for labyrinth experiences, and builder of labyrinths across North America []. Warren was a founding leader for Global Healing Response [], an organized plan since 2004, using the labyrinth and labyrinth community for unified healing, and to promote mindful engagement around times and experiences of emergency, crisis or disaster.

Quarter Three 2021 Topics and Descriptions

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Gilead Church in Chicago is a beautiful and unique new

church conceived, visioned and created by Rev. Rebecca Anderson and Rev. Vince Amlin.  “a progressive, inclusive, creative community of Christian faith on Chicago’s north side — a community that makes beautiful worship, throws great parties, and tells true stories that save lives.”

Please join us on Saturday July 10th as Rebecca Anderson guides us through the use of story in our congregational settings. Spend a fun, conversational (but structured!) morning generating ideas and getting some tools in the mix to craft your own stories. Dream about what storytelling could do in your own setting. Consider what stories have been missing and how to invite them. Leave with ideas you can put to work in your community right away, and some inspiration for even bigger plans down the road. (Have you been imagining hosting a story event in a local bar? Wondering if you could expand your Lenten storytelling practice? Picturing yourself onstage at The Moth?)

Storytelling  is having a moment.  And we think the Church should get in on it — especially since we know it’s not new.  Telling true stories in meaningful language has been at the heart of the gospel since the beginning. Now it’s our story to tell.


Rev. Rebecca Anderson is co-pastor at two Chicago churches. You can find her on Sunday mornings at Bethany UCC in Ravenswood (, and Sunday evenings at Gilead, a queer, storytelling, bar church that she started with friend and colleague Vince Amlin (

Rebecca is ordained Disciples clergy. She received her Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago (Disciples Divinity House, resident) and she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in playwrighting from Hampshire College, (Amherst, MA)

She comes to storytelling via stand-up comedy, playwrighting, and preaching. She’s been on Snap Judgment (radio), and podcasts including The Broad Experience, and Broccoli & Ice Cream. Active in the Chicago storytelling scene, she’s performed with events like RISK!, 2nd Story, The Moth, and This Much is True. She’s head honcho of Earshot (, running storytelling workshops across the country (and, now, internationally. Thanks, Canada).  She’s always looking for the least crowded forest preserves, her biscuits are unparalleled, and she knows the best places to pick juneberries.

Rev. Melissa Guthrie Loy will be joined by Rev. Laura Jean Allen and voices from across the region or other members of the allianceQ council .

As Disciples we share a radically wide table. As we celebrate our tradition of gathering at the table, join with others to hear and share stories of welcome; and to explore a wide(r) welcome. What is inclusion? What is an expansive welcome? Why Open & Affirming? Church communities who are living into what it means to be Open & Affirming will share experiences of joy and struggle. Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance leaders will provide relevant definitions and explanations as well as an overview of resources for the journey of welcome, for those who are beginning or re-engaging their welcome. The process becomes a community-building experience by expanding congregational welcome and guiding our journeys to vital ministries of grace. We know we are all in different places. With embodied practices, small group interaction and Q&A, join us as we shine a light on the table. Facilitated by Rev. Melissa Guthrie Loy, Executive Director + Minister of the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance and Rev. Laura Jean Allen, AllianceQ Council Member and Minister with First Christian Church Helena. A panel of clergy and lay leaders will contribute to the workshop. Bring a candle and communion elements.


Your church isn’t ready to become Open & Affirming? This conversation is for you. What better time to build community and increase your gifts of hospitality! Your church already welcomes LGBTQ people and doesn’t need to do more? There’s always more welcome to offer! This conversation is for you. Everybody in your congregation knows that LGBTQ people are welcome? Now it’s time to expand the welcome with and into your community. This conversation is for you.

Rev. Melissa Guthrie Loy is the Executive Director + Minister with the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance. She is the Founding Director of the nonprofit Salvage Garden, an expansive ministry with individuals with disabilities. Setting a place at the table for all has always been a part of Melissa’s call. Perhaps because she was asked to leave a leadership position in a church when she came out as gay. Perhaps because she and her son were unwelcome in a different church because of his disabilities. Perhaps because she understands God as an embodied God whose image is in every body. Melissa is trained in Faith-Based Nonprofit Management by Wake Forest University School of Business and School of Divinity. She’s been a guest lecturer for the Institute on Theology and Disability and an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Melissa and her wife Leah have three children and a small zoo; they live in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Quarter Four 2021 Topics and Descriptions

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Hybrid Church: Combining Online and In-Person Communities

Creating a hybrid church extends beyond Sunday morning, but bringing online and offline members together is only one step. To align your congregation with digital culture through hybrid experiences, we must find more creative practices than providing a dial-in for our events. In this workshop, New Church Ministry will help participants:

  • Explore what it means to bridge offline and online in faith formation and spiritual practice
  • Deepen faith formation with technology
  • Support spiritual practice and authentic connection across multiple platforms
  • Discover good ideas to blend in-person worship with an online component — permanently

How to Try: Ministry Innovation

From countries to states to businesses to churches to neighborhoods, we are all facing challenges that we’ve never faced before in our lifetime. We are feeling the impact of these unprecedented times. That’s why ministry innovation are so important. There is no better time to try something new! In this workshop, New Church Ministry will encourage participants to:

  • Not simply survive in these times, but to thrive through them
  • More deeply understand what some are calling “the new normal”
  • Prepare to lead by offering new expressions of ministry
  • Earn the ability to respond to the needs of your church and community efficiently

Adaptive Leadership is an approach to making progress on the most important challenges we face as Church.  Adaptive leaders are able to move beyond quick-fix problem solving, to diagnosis of adaptive challenges, and the nurture of adaptive capacity in your organization.  For so long we viewed the Church through the built-to-last mindset.  Adaptive leaders can shift their congregation to a Built-to-change mindset.

We will review the characteristics of adaptive change, and deepen our understanding of the characteristics and skills of an adaptive leader.  We’ll explore how to nurture adaptive capacity through faith formation and worship.  And we’ll learn how to study scripture through an adaptive change lens.

This workshop is intentionally designed for pastors and congregational leaders who have a basic knowledge of adaptive change principles and want to go deeper in learning how to lead a congregation into and through adaptive change.  A significant portion of the sessions will be spent in small working groups.

Rev. Dr. Kara Markell is pastor of Lake Washington Christian Church and chair of the Northern Lights Regional Commission on Ministry. She is also a retreat leader and has worked with pastors and lay leaders seeking to engage in the process of transformation and adaptive action in their congregation. She received her MDiv from Brite Divinity School and her DMin from Seattle University. Her doctoral work focused on the link between Ecclesiology/Congregational identity and a congregation’s ability to engage in adaptive change.

Are you longing for soul-deep rest that actually restores? Or to re-connect with a sense of your daily life as a walk with God? Do you wonder: Is Sabbath a gift or a commandment? A rhythm or a discipline? Is it defined by the things we do, or by the things we abstain from? Bring your journal and your sense of wonder to a quiet space where you can join with others holding these same longings, and more. Together, we’ll practice— and explore— the sacred and recurring invitation to rest with God. Drawing on scripture and other writings, we will use reflective journal prompts, small group sharing, guided imagery and the practice of wonder to re-imagine and re-connect to the life-giving practice of Sabbath. Ours is a God who invites. Might this Advent season be a good time to say yes to more time with God?

Jennie Isbell Shinn, M.A., M.Div., has been in private practice as a spiritual director since 2007. She has more than two decades of experience in non-profits as an employee, board member, volunteer, and consultant. While in seminary, during a discernment exercise in class, a friend noted, “You’re always talking about Jesus, but you’re really a lot more like Paul!” And so began her long, discerning path of seeking the balance between gifts for spiritual care and gifts for administration. Along the way, she has worked (part time) as a massage therapist (since 2001), a certified yoga therapist working with fibromyalgia patients, a director of outreach for a seminary, a cat sitter, a manager of advancement services (for a women’s college), a writer, and a yoga mat cleaner. She became a mother for the first time in her early 40s, and currently lives and works on an island off the coast of Massachusetts with her partner and their child. She is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and is a bit obsessed with the implications of Incarnation. (Bless the seminary professor who said to her, “That’s okay, so is Jesus.”)


Fee structure is a *suggested donation of $10.00/person/session or $25/congregation/session with 3 or more participants registered at the same time.

*The Second Saturdays planning team is committed to sharing these opportunities with all who want to participate, cost should not determine your ability to attend.  Please observe the registration rate but if it is cost prohibitive, do not hesitate to donate only what you’re able to afford.

Registration for each session will be closed at the end of business the day before the session.  This will help us ensure that all those who register for the course will be able to receive the Zoom access information in time for the event.

Each event begins at 9:00am and will conclude at 12:30pm (Pacific)

Live Event Registration


Sessions will be recorded and made available after the event, free to those who registered and at a cost of $5.00 each for those who prefer to participate by watching the recording(s).

Recording Only Purchase