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. 

Holy Solitude: A 24-hour Lenten Retreat

March 22-23, 2019 with overnight and commuter options

Our faith is full of heroes who experienced God powerfully in solitude. From Hagar and the Hebrew prophets to Jesus in the wilderness to Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena, we see how escape from the toil and temptations of daily life can open our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to the still, small voice of God. In the vast desert or a tiny room, solitude -- frightening for some and a welcome reprieve for others -- is far from an antisocial self-indulgence but rather is an opportunity for transformation and empowerment to serve God's people ever more deeply.

Join priest and author Heidi Haverkamp for a time of "solitude together" as Lent begins, with a focus on both time along and time together in conversation. The book is available for order via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers, and will be available to purchase onsite, but is not required to participate. Attend as a commuter or stay overnight. Register online.

The Rev. Heidi Haverkamp

Heidi Haverkamp is a writer, a preacher, a retreat leader, and an Episcopal priest. For ten years, she served in parish ministry in churches in Chicago and Bolingbrook, Illinois. She is a Benedictine oblate at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Wisconsin. Her first book, Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season, was published in September 2015 by Westminster John Knox Press. She received her M. Div. from The University of Chicago Divinity School in 2006 and a certificate in Anglican studies from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (now Bexley Seabury) a year later. She has also worked on organic farms, in a corporate law office, as pastor of a rural congregation in New England, and at Trader Joe's. She married Adam Frieberg in 2008. They now live in DeKalb, Illinois, with two cats and a beagle, where they are thick in the renovation of a snug brick colonial.

College for Congregational Development



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.


Living Compass Community Wellness Advocate Training

2019 dates: February 28-March 2; April 25-27; June 10-13; July 11-13 (Parent and Teen Training); October 3-5; November 7-9 (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 Everly via email.

Fierce Conversations Training  

Upcoming dates: May 12-15, 2019

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 May 12-15, 2019.