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Garrett-Evangelical Hosts 11 Bishops of The United Methodist Church for the 2013 Leadership Academy

February 12, 2013

For four days, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary hosted eleven newly appointed bishops of The United Methodist Church as participants in the 2013 Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy, an executive education program created specifically for the bishops elected in 2012, was led by senior faculty and practitioners from Garrett-Evangelical and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Bishops from across the United States as well as Europe and Russia participated in the groundbreaking leadership program.

Kellogg faculty spoke on leadership and best practices including topics such as “Distributive Leadership,” “Crisis Management,” and “Authentic Leadership” and included leaders in the fields of management, psychology and systems analysis such as Dr. Brooke Vuckovic, Dr. Daniel Diermeier and Harry H.J. Kraemer, Jr.  In addition, Dr. Morton Schapiro, President of Northwestern University, met with the bishops and discussed innovations in education and the implications for people of faith. Garrett-Evangelical’s academic dean, Dr. Lallene Rector, led applied learning and action plan sessions throughout the four days challenging the bishops to seek ways of implementing new strategies immediately.

The bishops also had the opportunity to explore practical challenges and applications for leadership in the context of metropolitan Chicago. In a session held at the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, the Bishops were able to  hear directly from Chicago civil servants including Chief Information Officer for Cook County, Lydia Murray; First Deputy Chief of Staff for the City of Chicago, Felicia Davis; and the Executive Director of the Cook County Judicial Advisory Council, Juliana Stratton. When Bishop Jonathan Holston of the South Carolina Conference asked how our churches can partner with the local government to end violence in our communities, Deputy Chief of Staff Felicia Davis said, “Afterschool programs are desperately needed and they do not need to be complicated. If you have a ping-pong table in a basement it will keep kids occupied and off the streets. We also need local churches to serve as a hub of information to break down isolation and the information gap for services. And above all else, be a safe place. There are lives depending upon it.”

When asked about her experience at the Leadership Academy, Bishop Cynthia Harvey of the Louisiana Conference said, “The Leadership Academy at Garrett-Evangelical was the best leadership event I have attended in years. The presentations were incredibly well done and I believe we received the best Kellogg and Garrett-Evangelical had to offer. I will take advantage of any future leadership opportunities offered by Garrett/Kellogg knowing that they will be excellent and relevant to my work. The four days were worth the investment.”

This year’s Leadership Academy was an outgrowth of Garrett-Evangelical’s acclaimed Plus Program. The Plus Program, now in its third year, is executive education program designed for religious professionals. The cutting edge, research based curriculum offers a program of professional relevance for religious leaders, with the flexibility required for working professionals. The two-year executive education program is taught by senior faculty and practitioners at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.