Workshop III

Tuesday, June 2, 3:45-5:15 p.m.

“In the Moment”—Attention and Discernment in Worship: Kelly Ballard

Come and receive inspiration and practical insights on what it means to artistically capture the movement of Christ in our gathered experience. Kelly Ballard will share some ideas on how to recognize and assimilate “the moment” in our worship times together.

Kelley Ballard is pastor for worship arts at Portland's Cedar Mill Bible Church and founder of Beyond Worship ( He has been leading worship for varied groups for over 20 years. He has led worship events in 47 states, and internationally, and has served as pastor, performer, professor and songwriter. He received his DMin from George Fox Evangelical Seminary, and he and his wife Frayne have three boys: Dex, Kyle, and Kenny.

Discernment: A Quaker-Ignatian Conversation: Alan Kolp

This workshop explores the commonalities and distinctive styles of the Quaker and Ignatian approaches to discernment. Both modes of discernment are rooted in their respective spiritualities which will be considered. Based on these spiritualities, particular attention will be given to the practice of discernment and how that leads to knowing and doing God's will.

Alan Kolp holds the Moll Chair in Faith & Life and is professor of religion at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio ( He brings extensive experience from his long-term work among Quakers and active involvement in ecumenical concerns. He is a Benedictine oblate. Former dean of the Earlham School of Religion, Alan has had significant pastoral experience, leading retreats and publishing. Alan’s books include Fresh Winds of the Spirit and A Canopy of Light and Love, and he is co-author of Leading with Integrity: Character Based Leadership. His PhD is from Harvard University.

Awakening to a Call to Communal Contemplation in Discernment—Sherryl White

As discernment processes become increasingly broad based, the question arises as to how people can best participate in them. Two spiritual practices of communal contemplation and contemplative dialogue are presented as foundational to fostering communal discernment. This worship will explore ways to facilitate the deeper conversations for which people seem to be searching.

Sherryl White, a Sister of St. Joseph, is a psychologist ministering to apostolic and contemplative congregations of religious throughout the United States and Canada. As a facilitator and consultant, her group processes are designed to draw upon the strengths of contemplative inquiry, broadening our capacities to engage the questions that confront us in changing times. Sister Sherryl is also a trained spiritual director and offers retreats and workshops throughout North America. Her PhD is in sociology.

Cultivating the Art of Spiritual Discernment in the People of God through Prayer Retreat Ministry: Denise Easter and Dianna Kunce

“The mature…those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) Personal communion with God is fundamental to becoming a discerning person. If we do not know how to have fellowship with God in prayer, we will find it difficult to hear and recognize the voice of God through the inner witness of the Spirit of Christ. So, how can one foster intimate relationship with God through prayer? Prayer retreats are an important way because they provide extended time in prayer and reflection. At this workshop our facilitators will introduce a process that will assist you in planning a “guided prayer retreat” for individuals and groups.

Denise Easter and Dianna Kunce are co-executive directors and founders of Renewal Ministries Northwest (, an ecumenical ministry of prayer and renewal near Seattle. Denise and Dianna have served over 30 churches, conducted over 60 guided prayer retreats, taught in over 25 forums on prayer and discernment, and provided prayer ministry and spiritual companionship for more than 200 individuals. They received MSW degrees from the University of Washington and MDiv degrees from Regent College. They are ordained in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and are Parish Associates at North Creek Presbyterian Church in Mill Creek, Wash.

Discernment and Church Discipline: Jim and Sharon Van Yperen

This workshop will explore biblical principles for welcoming the Holy Spirit into the process of church discipline. We will seek to discover guidelines for the authority and limits of binding and loosing and uncover specific ways spiritual leaders can practice group discernment in matters of sin. We will use specific case studies to help apply principles to actual circumstances where church discipline was required. Bring your questions and concerns as we learn together the “discernment to render justice.”

JImVanYperen SharonVanYperen
Jim and Sharon Van Yperen are leaders of Metanoia Ministries (Jim is the president; Sharon is the ministry coordinator), an organization that provides a dynamic way for the church to see truthfully, to think biblically, and to act redemptively. Based in Washington, New Hampshire, Metanoia Ministries serves more than 30 denominations (, helping churches resolve conflicts and create community. Jim’s books include Pathways to Peace, Making Peace, Strategic Leadership Formation, and Living in Authentic Community.

Guidelines for Communal Discernment: Victoria Curtiss

This workshop will present an intentionally structured process for groups of various sizes to engage in discernment together. Making the transition from parliamentary procedure to discernment will also be discussed. Booklets will be available for participants.

Vicky Curtiss has been a Presbyterian pastor since 1980, and has also served as a presbytery executive and spiritual director. She is currently the associate pastor for Mission at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. She has led numerous groups in discernment and authored the booklet Guidelines for Communal Discernment.

Doing Discernment with the Ancestors: Discernment Techniques in the Church Catholic: Mark Ellingsen

Can I really use a Friends’ model of decision making in another denomination? Has the Friends tradition of discernment maintained any continuity with historic Christianity? This workshop addresses these very practical questions, providing ideas for those who are not Friends regarding how to introduce discernment practices in their own congregations, and also providing Friends themselves with language and insights for attracting an ecumenical audience for the practice of discernment. You'll learn more about how the earliest Christians at the ecumenical Councils made decisions, about the consensus fidelium which still authorizes most ecumenical decisions the Church has made, and about how to package consensus to make it relevant to your own denominational heritage.

Mark Ellingsen is professor of church history at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. With rich experience in parish ministry, he is the author of 15 books and hundreds of published articles and sermons, most recently Sin Bravely: A Joyful Alternative to the Purpose Driven Life, Reclaiming Our Roots: An Inclusive Introduction To Church History, and a forthcoming book on the early Church, African Mothers and Fathers. This summer he will complete the first of three volumes in the Lectionary Preaching Workbook series for CSS Publishers.  

Developing a Culture of Listening: Chuck Orwiler

Discernment is a conviction rather than a prediction. It arises from a state of being more than being the product of a process. Discernment emerges from love (Phil 1:9-11), it is part of the normal Christian life (John 10:27; Rev 3:19-22), and it constitutes the heart of discipleship in that we learn from Christ in embracing his yoke (Matt 11:28-30). As we keep our attention God-ward, especially in difficult times, the words of the prophet are true: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:20-21).

Chuck Orwiler is senior pastor of First Denver Friends Church (Evangelical Friends) in Denver, and he has worked several years on developing a congregational discernment model of prayerful decision-making within his church and within Rocky Mountain Yearly Meeting, which he also serves as its superintendent. His DMin is from George Fox Evangelical Seminary.
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