Learning Communities Initiative


Discover the unique story God wants to tell through your congregation.
Get ideas, inspiration and tools for ministry.
Enjoy the support of interactive workshops and ongoing coaching.
Pray, learn and walk together with other CNY congregations.

What’s it all about?

Participating congregations will be discerning their unique answer to this question: “When you consider the gifts you have been given and the needs of our world, what future do you imagine God is bringing forth in our midst?” The answer needs to come from Christ and our willingness to ask hard questions and listen for answers, as well as our ability to take risks, secure in our standing in Christ.

Join the Learning Communities Initiative Facebook Group to connect with participants and share in the journey.

What is a Learning Community?

A learning community is a group of congregations who commit to one another in a learning experience. Through prayer, skill-building, action and reflection they address their most pressing questions about the future.

How will my congregation benefit?

  • Train effective lay spiritual leaders through workshops and coaching.
  • Learn to discern and respond to God’s leading.
  • Deepen your congregation’s spirituality.
  • Build connections with other congregations.
  • Engage and inspire your membership.
  • Affirm your faith that God has a vital role for your congregation to play.

Ready to sign up?

If your congregation is interested in participating in the Learning Communities Initiative, please contact Carol Ackley, Coordinating Team Leader at [email protected], or Kathy Dengler at the diocesan office at [email protected].


Hear from people who are seeing their congregations transform through the Learning Communities Initiative.

Becky: Learning to listen

Charles: A sense of call

Jennifer: Discovering what we didn’t know

Brooks: Something big is happening

2020 Workshops and Summit

This year there are two different ways to engage with the Learning Communities Initiative. Your parish may choose one or both:

Workshop Series:

Each workshop will focus on one step of the Listen-Act-Reflect model and you will leave each gathering with concrete action steps to strengthen your congregations’ relationships with God, your neighbors, and one another. This first track is ideal for parishes who have never participated in LCI before or who have participated and wish to engage more deeply in their neighborhoods.

Saturday, March 7th: Listen

Please note: dates and arrangements for the second and third workshops are subject to change as a result social distancing precautions required by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Saturday, May 30th: Act

This workshop will focus on the “act” step of the Learning Communities process of “Listen, Act, Reflect.” The conversations will be different than in years past. How DO we connect with our neighborhood and larger community and maintain safe social-distancing practices?

Please REGISTER in advance for this meeting. There is no cost. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom connection information.

A PRACTICE Zoom has been scheduled for those of us who want to become more comfortable with videoconferencing. It will be held on May 28th from 6:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Please contact Kathy Dengler at [email protected] for connection information.

We look forward to your questions, concerns, and any new insights gained during this new way of being church!

Saturday, September 26th: Reflect

Summit: Listening to God take us to the next level

This summit has been postponed. Please stay tuned as the LCI Coordinating Team develops a way to gather that will work well during this time of social-distancing.

The second, new, track is a single Learning Communities Initiative Summit: Listening to God take us to the next level. Suitable for current workshop cohort participants or past Learning Communities Initiative participants, this Summit will help you apply what you’ve heard from your neighbors about the needs of your community. Is your community struggling with hunger? Opioid use? Senior citizens who are isolated and lonely? This summit will help you identify concrete ways your parish can be part of God’s response in your neighborhood—and connect you with others in the diocese working on similar ministries.


Handouts & Tools

Initiative Information

The Rev. Michael Binder: How to lead “Dwelling in the Word”

The Rev. Michael Binder explains how to lead the ancient spiritual practice, Dwelling in the Word, to find where God may be leading your faith community. Download our Dwelling in the Word guidesheet.

The Rev. Michael Binder: Action Learning Experiments

The Rev. Michael Binder teaches the 2019 Central New York Learning Communities Initiative cohort about action learning experiments at the June 1, 2019 training. 


Diocesan Coordinating Team 


The team receives a blessing at our 149th Diocesan Convention. 

Ms. Carol Ackley, Team Leader

Ms. Bambi Carkey
Ms. Kathy Dengler
The Very Rev. David Hanselman
Ms. Patricia Kinney
Ms. Sue Mahon
Mr. Doug Mouncey

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