The power inherent in a leader's presence does not reside in physical or economic strength but in the nature of his or her own being... Leaders function as the immune systems of the institutions they lead — not because they ward off enemies, but because they supply the ingredients for the system's integrity. — Edwin H. Friedman, late 20th-century rabbi, family therapist and author

This workshop invites participants into challenging territory. Drawing on the work of Edwin H. Friedman, the activities explore a deeper understanding of the chronically anxious society that surrounds and invades our congregational life. Participants name and embrace that which sustains and grounds them and learn how this self-knowledge can help them lead from a place of creativity and imagination, rather than reactivity. The workshop offers models to help individuals and leadership teams support and reinforce the integrity of those entrusted with leadership positions in our congregations.


This workshop will:

  • Demonstrate that a leader's personal grounding and spiritual well-being are crucial to their ability to lead
  • Help participants understand their own responses to challenge, crisis and opportunity
  • Drawing on the work of Edwin H. Friedman, explore how living in a chronically anxious society produces predictable, ineffective responses in those who lead our institutions and congregations
  • Foster laughter, meditation, reflection and artistic expression to help participants connect more fully with their spiritual and emotional selves.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Use the story of Rosa Parks as a springboard to reflect on the supports that sustain them in moments of crisis, change, challenge and opportunity
  • Reflect on the idea that who a leader is matters as much as what they do
  • Explore the anxieties that permeate our society, our families and our congregations
  • Become aware of leadership practices, commonly fueled by chronic anxiety, which act as barriers to creativity and imagination
  • Laugh, meditate, create, share and be renewed as spiritual beings and as leaders.

For more information contact

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