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 nine-month learning experience. Through prayer, skill-building, action and reflection they address their most pressing questions about the future.

The experience includes three Saturday workshops and ongoing coaching calls with diocesan leaders.

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 2019 Learning Communities Initiative, here is what is required:

  1. Gather a Guiding Team of four to six members willing to engage in the three 2019 trainings. 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 and mail or email it to the bishop’s office before January 15, 2019.


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

2019 Training Workshops

Insightful Leadership: Begin by Asking Different Questions: Saturday, March 9, 2019 [get slides & handouts]
Learn by Doing: Using Action Learning to Discover God’s Leading: Saturday, June 1, 2019 [get slides & handouts]
Sharing Our Learning: Intentional Reflection on Our Actions: Saturday, September 28, 2019.


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
The Rev. Canon John Crosswaite
Ms. Kathy Dengler
Ms. Patricia Kinney
Ms. Sue Mahon


Michael Binder headshot

The Rev. Michael Binder, Ph.D.

Michael Binder is the Pastor of Teaching and Vision at Mill City Church in Northeast Minneapolis. Michael helped to found Mill City Church in 2008 with a focus on neighborhood ministry. Michael has a Ph.D. from Luther Seminary in the area of congregational mission and leadership. He consults with congregations and denominations in the U.S. and Canada. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three kids.

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