Upcoming Programs

The Nicholas Center hosts a variety of programs for leading well. Living Compass Community Wellness Advocacy Trainings and Fierce Conversations are our cornerstone programs we offer multiple times over the year. 

College for Congregational Development

Upcoming dates: September 21-22, 2018; December 7-8, 2018; February 8-9, 2019; May 10-11, 2019


The College of Congregational Development is a comprehensive training program that originated in the Diocese of Olympia in Western Washington. It seeks to nurture and develop congregational development practitioners from within existing parish lay and clergy leadership.

The College is a two-year program that includes readings, homework, presentation, working in teams, the completion of a content exam and the completion of two back-home projects. Because the College seeks to improve the way that leaders function in congregations, congregations are strongly encouraged to send clergy-lay teams to the College. Visit the CCD website to learn more.

To complete a full training, participants MUST attend all four of these weekend intensives in 2018-2019, which equal one of the full week trainings. These will be held at St. James Commons.

REGISTER NOW for the 2018-2019 Weekend Trainings (must commit to attending all four weekends) by clicking here. The cost for the training is $800/person. Scholarships are available to members of congregations located in the Diocese of Chicago only. We strongly encourage congregations to send teams to this training so that it might be most effective in your local congregation. Scholarships are available, the current maximum scholarship is $400/student and must be approved by the director of the College.

Living Compass Community Wellness Advocate Training

2018 dates: March 1-3; April 26-28*; May 17-19; June 28-30*; September 27-29; October 18-20* (*Parent and Teen Training)

Wellness ministries are an ideal way to enhance congregational vitality. The Living Compass Faith & Wellness Ministry, grounded in scripture and the tradition of the church, provides resources, coaching, education, training, and support to individuals, families, and congregations as they seek to enhance their vitality and to live the abundant life God intends for them.

Become a Certified Community Wellness Advocate (CWA) so that you can enhance your congregation’s vitality by beginning or expanding a wellness ministry in your church. You will be trained in a variety of educational, small group, coaching, and retreat resources for adults, teens, parents, and families. These trainings are for people committed to integrating faith and wellness in their own lives and to helping others to do the same. Lay and clergy leaders are all welcome to attend. Congregations are encouraged to send several people to be trained together whenever possible.

Healing and wellness ministries are central in the ministry of Christ and of the church. Living Compass helps congregations offer ministries of wholeness and wellness to their members, as well as to people in their surrounding communities. Come to a Living Compass training to learn and plan how to use Living Compass materials in your ministry location. Become trained to facilitate small group wellness sessions and lead wellness classes on a breadth of wellness topics in your community, including adult, parent, and teen wellness. Meet and learn from others from around the country who are increasing the vitality of their congregations and communities by offering a variety of wellness opportunities.

Learn more and register online. For more information, contact Edith Lipscomb via email.

Fierce Conversations Training  

Upcoming dates: June 3 - 6, 2018

Fierce Conversations training teaches people how to have vital conversations that interrogate reality, provoke learning, resolve tough challenges and enrich relationships. While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a congregation, a relationship, or a life...any single conversation can.

These workshops will provide sixteen hours of experiential training about how to have more productive conversations. The skills learned will be immediately applicable to one's personal and professional life. As accredited providers for Fierce, Inc. in the Episcopal Church, Courtney Reid, director of operations and Nicholas Center for the Diocese of Chicago, has provided many Fierce trainings in a variety of church and diocesan contexts.

Register online for Fierce Conversations June 3 - 6, 2018


Leading in Dynamic Water: A Kayaking Adventure

September 16-19, 2018

As clergy we find ourselves adapting and altering plans because of the constantly shifting patterns and challenges of leading an all-volunteer organization that is faith community, historic institution, small business and social service agency. A successful Gospel driven congregation requires a leader who is nimble, thoughtful and able to adjust to the dynamic environment in which we enact our faith and embody our vocations.

The sea, be it an inland sea like Lake Michigan, or any one of the great salt water bodies that make up three-quarters of our world, is the most dynamic system on the planet. What lessons can we learn from people who guide, coach and lead people on the tempestuous waters of the sea? How do we enable people to experience awe in their faith life? How do we navigate the waters of change that must take place in our congregations in the 21st century?

Join Bonnie Perry and Lyn Stone in this four day workshop of sea kayaking, praying, and reflecting on leading. See the city of Chicago from Lake Michigan. Join colleagues on reflecting how the principles of leading a group along a rocky shoreline in a sea kayak can offer abiding insights to our lives as congregational leaders. Participants should be comfortable in and around water, and be moderately physically fit. Register online.

About the instructors:

Bonnie Perry is the rector at All Saints' Chicago. In the kayaking world, she is an American Canoe Association Level 4 Open Water Instructor Trainer. In the British Canoe Union, (BCU) she is one of four women in North America to obtain the 5 Star-Sea Leader Award, a Level 3 Sea Coach, a 3 star assessor, a 3 star canoeist, and a UKCC level 1 coach. With our friends to the North in Paddle Canada, Bonnie is a level 2 instructor. In addition, she is also a Wilderness First Responder.

Lyn Stone is an American Canoe Association Level 3 sea kayak instructor, a trainer and leader at REI’s outdoor school and one of the few people in this country who holds the Level 2 United Kingdom Coaching Certificate.