Leadership Summit on Wellbeing

April 19-22, 2021

A Virtual Leadership Summit on Wellbeing for clergy and other church leaders is being planned by Church of the Brethren staff for April 19-22, 2021.  The summit will open Monday evening with a keynote presentation by clinical psychologist and professor Dr. Jessica Young-Brown of Virginia Union University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. 

Pre-recorded sessions by presenters on five aspects of wellbeing will be available for viewing in preparation for participating in Q&A sessions with the presenters during the week.  Speakers will address themes including family/relational, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial wellbeing. See the schedule.

CEUs will be available through the Brethren Academy upon registration for the event.  Contact Stan Dueck at sdueck@brethren.org or 847-429-4343 for more information. 

Still have questions? Leadership Summit on Wellbeing FAQ


Dr. Jessica Young Brown, PhD, LCP

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Jessica Young Brown is a counseling psychologist who serves as Assistant Professor of Counseling and Practical Theology at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. In this capacity she teaches and provides consultation and program development on issues of vocation, spiritual formation, and human development. Dr. Brown is also a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice and provides education and consultation to community organizations related to mental health issues. Dr. Brown’s primary area of expertise is the intersection of faith and mental health. From this viewpoint, she is the author of Making SPACE at the Well: Ministry for Mental Health in the Church, published through Judson Press. In addition, Dr. Brown speaks and provides consultation on issues such as trauma and generational trauma, group dynamics, and leadership development. Dr. Brown enjoys training and consulting with mental health professionals on issues of race, power, and privilege in both clinical and administrative processes.

Dr. Brown completed her undergraduate education at Elon University in Elon, NC. She then matriculated at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA where she received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in Counseling Psychology. In addition to her work obligations, Dr. Brown is engaged at the community level. She is the Varina District representative for the Henrico County Board of Mental Health and Developmental Services. She is a region 4 representative for the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards. She is also the Vice President of the Board of Directors for VIPCare, a nonprofit organization focused on providing faith-based counseling services in the Richmond community.

Dr. Melissa Hofstetter, PhD, MDiv

Compassion Fatigue: Recognition & Resilience

During times of extraordinary stress, it is critical that church leaders, chaplains, & peace workers be responsive to their own internal states as they seek to minister to others and promote shalom in the world around us. There is a necessary balance to maintain, considering leaders’ well-being – physically & psychologically – as well as the welfare of those they serve.

In light of the current global Covid pandemic, we will explore the multifaceted impacts of new and traumatic stressors. We will reflect on our own physiological, emotional, and behavioral health. We will explore factors that may predispose leaders to burnout & compassion fatigue. Finally, we will review practical & faith-based approaches to reduce overwhelm- necessary for resilience and longevity. Further ministerial resources will be given within this presentation.

Melissa Hofstetter, PhD, MDiv is an ordained Mennonite minister, having served as district elder in the Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference. She is bivocationally a clinical psychologist (CA, PSY25696; AZ #4125). She is the founder of Shepherd Heart. Dr. Hofstetter has served as a seminary instructor in Pastoral Counseling & Congregational Health, and served as adjunct professor in the doctoral and undergraduate psychology departments at Azusa Pacific University, teaching courses in Neuroscience, Adult Development, Family Systems, Cognition, General Psychology, Personality.

Dr. Ronald Vogt, PhD, MDiv

A.R.E. You There? Who Holds Me? Who Holds You?

Emotionally responsive relationships (characterized by being Available, Responsive, Engaged, A.R.E.) create wellbeing and in turn, wellbeing creates the capacity for emotionally responsive relationships. When we rigidly become anxious to pain and conflict and focus solely on escaping and controlling it (fight or flight), we can end up not “in” relationship. We end up more and more alone and more and more “on our own”. This is a dangerous place for a human being. Being strong or isolating and withholding our truth and pain from all others because it doesn’t feel safe is protective but not healing and keeps us from our deeper need to belong and be loved and known. We will briefly explore the need for and lack of human attachment as a root cause of suffering and lack of wellbeing.

Ronald Vogt, M.Div., Ph.D. is a psychologist specializing in relational and emotional health at the Emotional Health Center in Lancaster, PA. He is a Certified Therapist and Supervisor in Emotionally Focused Therapy. His professional interests have been the integration of theology and psychology.

Tim Harvey

Nothing is chasing me; so why am I still running?

Pastoral ministry is a wonderful calling; where else do you have the privilege of studying Scripture in preparation for a sermon or lesson; visiting with the saints of the congregation; and holding a newborn baby while offering the first prayer on his or her behalf—sometimes all in the same day. Stressors abound as well; pastors are often the first person someone calls in crisis, and our congregations are certainly impacted by the chaos and confusion of the world around us. Maintaining good spiritual, emotional, and physical health is crucial so that the pastor is able to be present to the needs of the congregation.

Good physical health is one way to improve each of these areas. Whether it is a walk in the neighborhood, a hike in the woods, or a run along a path through a park, physical exercise is a means to keeping weight, blood pressure, and stress levels under control, while also being an opportunity to reflect on spiritual and emotional issues and health.

In this session Tim will reflect on some of his own encounters with anxiety, and how running has become part of Tim’s identity as a person, and how this has impacted his physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

Tim Harvey is pastor of Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Virginia. He and his wife Lynette have three young adult children.

Tim has served the Church of the Brethren as a member of the General Board (2003-2008); Annual Conference Moderator (2012) and Review and Evaluation Committee (2015-2017). He also enjoys being an occasional author for Brethren Press, Messenger, and Shine Curriculum.

A runner since high school, these days Tim mostly runs for the benefits of being in good shape and experiencing the outdoors. Hiking in the forests of southwest Virginia in search of a stunning overlook or hidden waterfall is also a priority.

Erin Matteson, MDiv

Spiritual Wellness: Kindling our Hearts to Burn with Thy Flame

Spiritual wellness is much more a journey than a destination. We discover its many facets through the intentional living of our daily lives with God. Sometimes it feels like mysterious graced gift. Other times we are aware of how we create spiritual wellness in partnership with the Holy Spirit through interaction and insight as we travel together. Because spiritual wellness unfolds in and from us over time, more helpful than a rigid definition or plan may be exploring a collage of pieces that can create a compass for taking us further down the road into the heart of the matter. Desert fathers and mothers, our Brethren heritage, scripture and Jesus, Brethren hymn writer Ken Morse, and Sister Anna Mow, poetry and music, images and creation, all offer some of those pieces. Join me as I share some of my journey, my collage or compass for discovering and maintaining a kindled heart, and wonder with you about yours.

Erin Matteson is ordained and spent nearly 25 years as a pastor in the Church of the Brethren. She then transitioned to more focused spiritual formation work as a spiritual director, retreat leader, writer, and speaker. She has attended numerous events with Joyce Rupp including the four-day Boundless Compassion Retreat and a facilitator training where she became a certified teacher of the program. Erin loves creating safe space for deep listening and compassionate companionship with individuals and groups using a variety of themes. Learn more about Erin and her leadership at www.soultending.net.

Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, DMin

Don’t Let Your Money Make You Sick!

Few things seem to create as much as anxiety within us as conversations about money. We tend to learn our money scripts early in life and rarely ever revise them. We connect guilt, shame, and inadequacy to our to our experience in earning, managing, and spending money. Often, we beat ourselves up over money decisions (or their impact/consequences) as if we are supposed to be experts on a subject that we may never been taught. Money is tricky, because it plays into unhealthy perceptions about our worth as a person. And, the flow and our access to money is influenced by factors we cannot always control. To have a healthy view of money, its place in our lives and how to manage it makes for better health and wellbeing.

Bruce A. Barkhauer was called as the first “Minister for Faith and Giving for Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” in 2010, after 25 years of parish ministry. Since that time, he has engaged the whole church in conversations about generosity and offered transformative ways for congregations to think about stewardship. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including America’s Holy Ground: 61 Faithful Reflections On Our National Parks (published by Chalice Press, 2019) and Community of Prayer: A Stewardship Devotional. His most recent book, America’s Holy Sites: Faithful Reflections on our National Monuments and Historic Landmarks was released in April of 2020. He is a graduate of Ohio University (Athens), Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis), and did Doctor of Ministry studies at Ashland Theological Seminary (Ashland, OH). Rev Barkhauer has also earned an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising and is an adjunct professor with both Lexington Theological Seminary, and the IU School of Philanthropy. He is married to Laura and they share three grown children and three grandchildren.