32nd Annual Rural Ministry Conference: March 3 - 5, 2013
Where leaders in rural communities and congregations gather to gain insight and inspiration, to network and neighbor that our ministries might be empowered. This ecumenical conference includes worship, keynote speakers, workshops, and Bible study, and offers participants a unique opportunity to network with others who are active in and concerned about rural ministry.
Registration Deadline: February 28th, 2013
Click Here To Register Now! Click here for schedule. Click here for printable brochure package.
Save $50 if you have been serving in a rural congregation for less than 5 years.
Early Bird Registration: (due February 4)
1 person: $150
2 or more: $130 each
Standard Registration: (due February 28)
1 person: $165
2 or more: $145 each
Registration is limited to the first 200 people and includes all lunches and dinners (not breakfast). Does not include lodging.
Sponsors and Support:
Partially funded by a grant from The Esther and Carl Merklein Foundation
Northern Illinois Conference of the UMC
Share Your Experiences!
Again this year, we invite you to take advantage of two opportunities:
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Norman Wirzba
"The Spirituality of Eating"
Dr. Wirzba will look at why eating is a spiritual, along with a physiological, agricultural, and economic act. He will present theological sources for practices of eating that witness to the kingdom of God. Dr. Wirzba will also help us think more deeply about food as the expression of God's love.
Norman Wirzba is Research Professor of Theology, Ecology and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School and Research Professor at Duke's Nicholas School for the Environment. He is the author most recently of "Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating" and (with Fred Bahnson) "Making Peace with the Land: God's Call to Reconcile with Creation." He is a native of southern Alberta, having been raised by German Anabaptist farmers. He is married to Gretchen Ziegenhals and is the father of four children.
Plenary Speaker: Rev. Robin Raudabaugh
Robin Raudabaugh is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC), serving Pilgrims UCC in Maple Grove, MN and is also the Co-Camp Director of the Mn. Conference United Church of Christ's Pilgrim Point Camps and Retreats. She is also a teacher, a sustainable farmer, an artisan bread baker, spinner and weaver of wool, cheese maker, and wine and beer brewer. She has also co-owned and operated Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture farm for the last eight years, raising fruits and vegetables, sheep and goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, cows and horses. Being a tri-vocational pastor/farmer/camp director allows Robin to integrate her faith in God, her passion for the small-scale farming life, and many, many opportunities for sharing and teaching others.
Plenary Speaker: Dr. Craig Nessan
"Food, Fasting and Faith"
Dr. Craig Nessan is Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He teaches courses in the areas of contextual theology, pastoral theology, and theological ethics. He has oversight of the seminary’s internship program. Dr. Nessan has served eleven years as a parish pastor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His theological interests include ecclesiology, theological ethics, liberation theology, and family systems theory. In addition to other articles, reviews, and books, Dr. Nessan is the author of "Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as Ministering Community" (2010), "Beyond Maintenance to Mission: A Theology of the Congregation" (2010, Revised Edition), and "Transforming Leadership: New Vision for a Church in Mission" (2008 - with Norma Cook Everist).
The following workshops will be offered at different times.
“Aid for Sabbath Living” Dr. Norman Wirzba
This workshop will show that Sabbath-keeping is one of the most important spiritual practices of Christian life. We will consider what Sabbath is and how we can better incorporate in our daily lives.
“8 Ways Small Church Leaders Are Changing the World!” Elizabeth Dilley
This workshop will explore the ways that pastoral leaders in small-membership churches are having an outsize impact on Christianity and the world as a whole. In an interactive workshop, we'll explore how "smallness" doesn't mean "puny" or "insignificant" but rather "nimble" and "faithful." We will also explore some ways that small churches - and their leaders - are able to impact the world in significant ways. Church leaders will never think of their small churches the same way again! Participants will learn Biblical affirmations of "smallness" as an asset rather than a liability, and be able to apply these principles to their congregational settings. Participants will also explore what small-membership congregations do well, identify the unique strengths of their congregations, and explore how they can maximize those assets for the benefit of their congregations, communities, and the world.
“Socializing Your Church to Social Media” Mike Williams
Jesus called the church to go into all the world. Today much of that world is taking place online. The church needs to have a presence on the digital frontier if it is to have any relevance to a technologically driven culture. Discussions of the why, when and how will introduce newcomers to power and potential pitfalls of ministry using social media.
“Facebook Without Loosing Face” Mike Williams
Social media is a powerful tool which has revolutionized ministry. It brings people together across time and distance. People will share things online that they would never share face to face. The opportunities are limitless, but potential dangers abound. This conversation will allow experienced users of social media to explore the possibilities, limitations and potential ethical challenges inherent with this new technology.
“Cultivating Hope: Ideas and Inspiration for "Greening" the Church” Kristi Holmberg
What does it mean to follow Jesus in the context of pressing environmental problems? In Summer 2012, Luther College students, Callie Mabry ('14) and Kristi Holmberg ('12) explored this question as Greening Churches Interns for 9 congregations in Decorah and Mason City, Iowa. This workshop shares key insights from this project. Participants will take away: 1. A deeper understanding of the connections between faith, social justice, and environmental stewardship 2. Practical tips for "greening the church," including an 80-page Greening Churches Guide (PDF) for further reflection
“WATCH YOUR MOUTH: Food Ethics and the Spiritual Discipline of Awareness ” Margaret Anne Overstreet
Building on the spiritual discipline of awareness, which invites us to see as God sees and to discover the sacredness of life, participants will explore how cultivating mindfulness about our food can open our eyes to the ethical implications of our food choices. This workshop is intended to provide a thoughtful discourse on issues including modern industrial agricultural practices, the equitable distribution of natural resources, and the importance of supporting sustainable practices with our food dollars. It also will provide tools that participants can take with them to continually deepen their own practice of food awareness and topical resources that participants can use in the worship and educational ministries of the congregations they serve.