The first portion of our vision involves shepherding about 20 Thrive Team Congregations from a variety of Christian denominations, serving urban and suburban multicultural and homogenous parishes. The second portion involves a larger outreach to Christian congregations beyond the Thrive Teams through workshops, seminars and retreats, connecting them with the many resources found in the Marquette faculty and staff communities and civic and business leadership in Southeast Wisconsin. Congregations will learn and practice elements of Ignatian spirituality, particularly the Ignatian Examen, which will provide a framework for “reflection on experience” and discernment which leads to action and response. We anticipate a variety of experiences focused on the key Christian practices that nurture communities of faith, including spirituality, faith formation, prayer, and lay leadership development, as well as learning about and responding to cultural and contemporary issues affecting neighborhoods and communities. COVID-19 has given congregations and pastors unforeseen challenges that will likely be a portion of this initiative. All churches are in a place no one anticipated. What better time to intervene with a creative and supportive program to help refocus and reimagine congregational life? With the grace of God, our faith communities will thrive in a new way.
The Examen(ed) Church