Leading Change In The Congregation

11 January 2021 / Online


We need strong, inspiring and courageous leadership in our congregations more than ever. This course will equip you with the skills to lead change in your congregation, so that we can help support the spiritual, emotional, and organisational needs of our communities and play our part in making the world a better place.

Based on Gilbert Rendle’s classic book Leading Change in the Congregation, the course leaders Rev Andy Pakula and Rory Castle Jones will guide you through the hurdles, challenges and exciting possibilities involved in leadership for change in congregations.

Session 1: Getting There from Here: Leadership and Change 

Session 2: A Place in the Story: The Spiritual Assumptions of Leaders 

Session 3: Beyond the Trees: Systems Theory as a Way to Look at Your Congregation 

Session 4: Welcome to the Wilderness: The Spiritual Journey of Congregational Change 

Session 5: Riding the Roller Coaster: The Emotional Cycle of Congregations in Change 

Session 6: Spinning Wheels Gather No Traction: Congregational Preferences in Change 

Session 7: A Postscript for the Faith Community: Behavior Appropriate to a Congregation

Session 8: Wrapping it up and taking it home

Who is it for? Leaders, congregational committee members, and any aspiring lay and clergy leaders in Unitarian and Free Christian congregations in the UK and Ireland, and other groups with similar values. We strongly encourage people to attend with other members of their congregation if possible.

When is it? Monday evenings, via Zoom, 6.30-7.30pm (with an optional extra 30 minute discussion) twice a month, starting 11th January 2021. (Dates: 11th and 25th Jan, 8th and 22nd Feb, 8th and 22nd Mar, 12th and 26th Apr)

How much does it cost? We ask participants to donate £20.00 or more to the General Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches. If you can’t manage this for financial reasons, please get in touch. Participants also need to buy a copy of Gilbert Rendle’s Leading Change in the Congregation (available to buy online in hard copy or for Kindle, from £8.95). The course leaders are offering their time for free to help the Unitarian movement and its leaders.

Who are the course leaders? Rev Andy Pakula is minister of New Unity non-religious church in north London. New Unity has grown from a tiny congregation to become a large, vibrant, youthful congregation with a wide variety of programmes offered and deep involvement with social action and social justice work in the community.  Andy has 14 years’ experience in ministry and is a fully credentialed minister in both the British Unitarian and American Unitarian Universalist movements. He was an active lay leader before he began to study for ministry in the US.

Rory Castle Jones is a student minister, training at Unitarian College. He is at the start of his ministry and comes from a small, rural congregation in South Wales which in the past five years has grown from an average Sunday attendance of 6-7 to 25-30 people. The congregation has become an active, vibrant church with a thriving youth group, deeply involved in community work. Rory’s background is in Higher Education teaching and research.

What commitment do I need to make? You need to commit to attending the eight sessions, plus reading a chapter of the book (which you can need to buy in advance) before each session and doing some ‘homework’ exercises. The course will be hard work – but worth it!

How do I sign up? To sign up, click here. Deadline: 18th December 2020.