Sustaining Ministerial Excellence Advanced Seminar Brings Together Cohort of Camp Leaders

Photo by Julie Hostetter
The first cohort in the SMEAS (Sustaining Ministerial Excellence Advanced Seminar) was a group of camp leaders: (from left) Tara Hornbacker, Bethany Seminary professor; Joel Ballew of Camp Swatara, Karen Neff of Camp Ithiel (on screen), Jerri Heiser Wenger of Camp Blue Diamond, Barbara Wise Lewczak of Camp Pine Lake, Linetta Ballew of Camp Swatara. and Wallace Cole of Camp Carmel.

By Julie Hostetter

The first retreat for the SMEAS (Sustaining Ministerial Excellence Advanced Seminar) Camp Leaders Cohort took place Nov. 19-21, 2015, at Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry and Retreat Center in Mid-Atlantic District. Participants had completed their annual Outdoor Ministries Association Retreat and stayed onsite for this new continuing education program.

Content for SMEAS includes components from the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Vital Pastors and Advanced Foundations for Church Leadership tracks administered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and the Advanced Pastoral Seminar offered by Bethany Seminary in the past.

Participants will meet bi-annually for two years to:

— integrate the spiritual, academic, emotional, relational, and physical components of a healthy lifestyle,
— develop a greater self-understanding of themselves and their ministries,
— re-examine the church and its mission in today’s culture,
— explore theological topics through presentations and dialogue with seminary faculty, denominational leaders, and seminar members,
— participate in community with other ministers,
— create strategies for personal and professional change.

Between in-person sessions, the camp leaders will interact via Moodle and Skype.

A SMEAS cohort for bi-vocational pastors is being formed now. Contact Julie Hostetter, executive director of the Brethren Academy, at or 800-287-8822 ext. 1820 for information and to register for this continuing education program.

— Julie Hostetter is executive director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, which is jointly affiliated with the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

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