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.

In 2020, there are two ways to experience the Learning Communities Initiative. First, as in past years, your congregation will have the option to be part of three Saturday workshops and ongoing coaching calls with diocesan leaders. Second, your congregation might choose to participate in the Learning Communities Initiative Summit on April 18, 2020, focused on responding to the needs of our communities and neighborhoods. Congregations may participate in either or both options.

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, here is what is required:

  1. Gather a Guiding Team of four to six members willing to engage in the either the three 2020 workshops, the April 2020 summit, or both. Each Guiding Team will be responsible to help others from the congregation to participate in the activities and learning that will take place between trainings.
  2. Each vestry will need to pray over, discuss, and approve their congregation’s participation.
  3. Each congregation will be asked to contribute $40 or less per person, per training to cover the cost of meals and materials.
  4. Download and complete the Covenant form by January 29th and email it to Ms. Kathy Dengler in 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

Saturday, September 26th: Reflect

Summit: Listening to God take us to the next level

This summit will be moved to an online format and a new date will be announced. 

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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