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Retreat Schedule | Healthy Congregations Training | Rock Springs Info

2017 Retreat: Health at the Intersections - Reaching Beyond the Congregation into Service with New Neighbors

April 28-29 with pre-retreat Healthy Congregations training April 27.

It's our treat! - the retreat is provided free of charge through the sponsorship of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, but pre-registration is required.

The retreat, part of the Healthy Congregations program, is for all Great Plains Conference United Methodists, especially those interested in congregational and community health ministry. The event is held each year at scenic Rock Springs Ranch near Junction City, KS.

Keynote: What Makes a Healthy Community?
Faith Mitchell is President and CEO of Grantmakers In Health (GIH), Faith Mitchellwhere she was previously Vice President for Program and Strategy. Before joining GIH, Dr. Mitchell was Senior Program Officer at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) where she was responsible for the health disparities portfolio. Dr. Mitchell spent 12 years at the National Academies, both at the IOM and as a Center Director in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Education. She has also held leadership positions at the U.S. Department of State, The San Francisco Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Throughout her career, Dr. Mitchell has worked on the application of social science to domestic and international public policy, health policy, and programs. She is a frequent writer on health-related topics and most recently published the articles “New Directions For Foundations In Health Equity,” with Patricia Doykos and Kristina Gray-Akpa, Innovations in Health Equity and Health Philanthropy, and Enabling Effective Health Philanthropy. Dr. Mitchell holds a doctorate in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Keynote: Learnings - 25 Years of Supporting Congregational Health Ministries
Kim Moore
, President, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund

Practical Workshops - Information You Can Take Home and Use

The retreat features a variety of workshops with information you can take home and use in your own churches and communities. Topics connect to spiritual, mental, physical, and social health. View workshop descriptions below or the full program flyer.

Circle of Hope – Wanda Pumphrey
1:15 & 2:45 Friday
When our neighbors lack basic resources to thrive, our entire community suffers. United Methodists are on the front line in communities across Kansas, building intentional relationships with families in poverty to help them increase their resources, relationships, and resilience. Harvey County Circle of Hope offers a model of addressing poverty that is relationship-focused, volunteer-driven and community-based. Learn the basics of this “walking WITH” model, how it can help mediate the toxic effects of poverty in the lives of kids, and where similar initiatives are at work and supported by United Methodists in the Great Plains Conference.

Early Childhood Experiences and Development – Matt and Morgan Penner
10:00 & 11:15 Saturday
Brain development during the earliest years of life forms the critically important base for all future learning, behavior, and health - and is greatly affected by the child's experiences and environment. Learn how your church can support families and young children in building strong foundations for life.

Food Pantry Options – Let’s Mix Things Up!  – Deb Andres
1:15 & 2:45 Friday
How can we provide meal starters to those who need help extending their food dollar? In this session, learn how a freezer meal program might be a fun way to engage your congregation in reaching out to those in need. Whether you are reaching out to a bereaved congregant or a family that has limited resources, freezer meals are a great way to give them immediate help. Participants will have the opportunity to review some menu options, and apply those options in planning for a future freezer meal program in their community. A hands-on component will be included in creating ready-to-make mixes to take back to their community, church, or home. Print and online resources will be provided.

Health Care and Coverage: Where Do We Go From Here? – Sheldon Weisgrau
1:15 & 2:45 Friday
The new administration in Washington has promised big changes to the health system.  Meanwhile, here in Kansas, the legislature is still dealing with crises in the budget and state health programs.  What may be coming down the pike, how it will affect our communities and congregations, and what we can do to make it work will be the subject of this workshop.  We’ll leave plenty of time to answer questions and discuss your concerns and issues.

Healthy Congregations Planning and Technical Assistance
4:15 Friday
During this time, Katie Schoenhoff and Judy Johnston will provide answers to questions about possible programs and strategies to support the local Healthy Congregations team’s chosen initiatives selected with the needs assessment tool. Katie and Judy will also serve to help teams navigate the program changes, including the health needs assessment tool and the streamlined planning and report forms.  This time will also be an opportunity for teams to share their successes (and discuss projects that didn’t go as planned, if desired).  This workshop will allow for open dialogue and we encourage all team members attending the retreat to participate together in one of these sessions.

Holy Humor – Rev. Morita Truman
4:15 Friday & 10:00 Saturday
Have you heard this one? "A priest, a pastor, and an imam walk into a bar. They tell stories and laugh, and they all go home." Not sure that's how the story is supposed to end? The point is, we live at a time when humor often seems to be in short supply. We need to remember the joy that holy humor can bring to us. We need to join Sarai who laughed at God's suggestion of a child for her. We need to consider the places in scripture that tell us about the gift of joy which can lead to laughter. We need to laugh. Come prepared to study the Bible and find passages that speak to joy and laughter and humor, and share your best "holy humor" as well.

Leadership Lessons for the Second Half of Life – Rev. Dr. Clayton Smith
4:15 Friday & 10:00 Saturday
For many, looking toward retirement brings a mix of both excitement and anxiety.  Retirement can be the most purpose-filled, satisfying, and fun phase of your life, but getting there takes thoughtful planning and can seem daunting. 
Rev. Clayton Smith, Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, will present workshops based on his recent book “At the Crossroads: Leadership Lessons for the Second Half of Life” (co-written with COR member Dave Wilson) – a six-week, Bible-based study offering comprehensive, practical help for Christians approaching, entering, or already in retirement.  Come away with lessons you can use to help those in your congregation (including yourself!) discover their purpose, passion, and mission for the second phase of life known as retirement – and map out a path to get there.

Strengthening Families Program – Art Mellor
4:15 Friday & 10:00 Saturday
Learn more about how your congregation can start a church-based parent support program that works!  The Strengthening Families Program has been around for over 30 years and has been helping families with children 7-17 in 38 countries and counting.  Interested church families, along with families from the community, come together once a week to watch a segment of a fun, inspirational DVD and practice easy, research-proven skills which result in happier, better behaved kids, happier marriages and family relationships, and decreased stress, depression and substance abuse.  Children benefit from increased social skills and cooperation, improved school performance, reduced misconduct and aggression, and reduced depression and anxiety.  Through a partnership between the General Board of Global Ministry and United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Healthy Congregations churches can receive training in the program at no cost.  Find out more about how your church can be a part of this great way to build strong community connections while helping local families and children.

Summer Food Program Panel – Shirley Black, Candance Miller, Annette Wilson
10:00 & 11:15 Saturday
The Summer Food Service Program is a USDA initiative to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.  The program reimburses sponsors, including faith-based and other nonprofit community organizations, and encourages them to provide fun activities for kids and teens to keep them coming back and to keep them physically and mentally active over the summer months.  In 2015, the Health Fund began offering Healthy Congregations churches special grant opportunities to start or expand Summer Food programs.  Learn about the experiences and achievements of fellow HC churches which combined volunteerism, creativity, and innovation to reduce hunger and make a difference in the lives of local children and their families.  Panelists include: Shirley Black, Howard UMC (KS); Candance Miller, Holdrege First UMC (NE), and Annette Wilson, Hiawatha UMC (KS).

The “You” in a Healthy Community – Faith Mitchell
1:45 & 2:45 Friday
Following up on her keynote presentation, Faith Mitchell will offer an interactive opportunity for participants to talk about what they are doing/can do to promote health at home, within their congregations, and among neighbors.

Key benefits for participants

  • Discover ways churches can advance health, healing, and wholeness in the congregation and the local community
  • Healthy Congregations training courses available
  • Enjoy fellowship with others sharing a passion for health ministries
  • Gain renewed personal energy in a scenic retreat setting
  • Earn nursing CEUs - through Hutchinson Community College

Who should attend the Retreat?
The retreat is especially helpful for parish nurses, pastors, and laity involved in or wanting to start health and wellness ministries in their congregations, but the event is something that all Great Plains United Methodists can enjoy. Healthy Congregations teams will find the retreat a great place to complete training courses and network with peers.

The retreat is a relaxing, informational, and fun event in a beautiful natural setting, and is provided at no charge to participants through the sponsorship of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund.

2017 Retreat Program & Schedule

Click here for a printable retreat program

Thursday, April 27: Pre-retreat sessions

1 p.m. Health Ministry 101 (Healthy Congregations Core Training)
4:00 Outcomes-Based Planning (HC Training)
4:30 Great Plains Health & Wellness Committee Meeting
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Program Evaluation & Using Data (HC Training)

Friday, April 28: Retreat Day One

9 a.m. Check-In

10:00 Opening Worship

10:30 Friday Keynote

Noon Lunch

1:15-2:30 Friday Workshops 1 - four options

2:45-4:00 Friday Workshops 2 - four options

4:15-5:30 Friday Workshops 3 - four options

5:45 Dinner

7:00 Informal Evening Gathering

Saturday, April 29: Retreat Day Two

8:00 Worship
8:30 Saturday Keynote

10:00 - 11:00 Saturday Workshops 1 - four options

11:15 - 12:15 Saturday Workshops 2 - four options

12:15 Closing Lunch

Healthy Congregations Program Certification Training

The certification courses fulfill the team training requirements of the Healthy Congregations program, which provides resources, access to expert help and advice, and $1000 in annual funding support for your church's health ministry work as well as access to other special funding and program opportunities. Certification is a one-time requirement for team members - once you're certified you don't have to repeat the training (although many people choose to take refresher courses voluntarily).

The Retreat is excellent opportunity for new churches to join Healthy Congregations or for existing teams to complete the core training or get new members up to speed quickly. If you are able to participate from 1-9 p.m. Thursday at Rock Springs, you can complete all required courses and achieve certification in the program. For a list of all 2017 Core Training opportunities, click here.

Check your Healthy Congregations training status here:

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Health Ministry 101 (April 27, 1-4 p.m.)
This introductory course includes Healthy Congregations program orientation and team-building in a church setting. Identify local priority health needs, set goals, and develop a plan to help you make a positive health impact in people's lives.

Outcomes-Based Planning (April 27, 4-6 p.m.)
Introduction to the socio-ecological model and its use for planning, along with worksheets, instructions, examples, and assistance in developing outcomes-based plans for effective health ministries.

Program Evaluation and Using Data (April 27, 7-9 p.m.)
Healthy Congregations teams work hard to improve people's health and well-being; in any human effort, measuring how well we're achieving progress toward our goals is critical to learning and adapting. This course covers evaluation methods, tools, and questions; using evaluation templates; and techniques for analyzing and interpreting collected information.

Rock Springs accommodations and information

The Healthy Congregations Retreat is held at the Rock Springs 4-H Center in the scenic Flint Hills region of Kansas. See for photos, maps, and more.Flint Hills Education Building

  • Meals will be served in Williams Dining Hall. Snacks and refreshments will be served in Heritage Hall.
  • Rooms are heated/air conditioned, but weather can be unpredictable - dress casually and comfortably; bring a jacket or wrap, comfortable shoes, and umbrella.
  • Rock Springs will provide bedding and towels - please bring toiletries, hair dryer, etc.
  • We will attempt to provide private rooms for couples participating together (subject to availability). Please request when registering.
  • If you are attending with other members of your church and would like to be housed together, please note on your registration form.
  • If you use a CPAP machine, please note on your registration form so that we can ensure a nearby electrical outlet.
  • Wireless internet is available in several buildings on the Rock Springs campus, including Heritage Hall.
  • For those taking Healthy Congregations training, or desiring CEUs, be sure to sign the appropriate attendance sheets during the event.

Note: we have a limited amount of housing available Thursday evening for those driving in from greater distances and for those taking the Thursday core training sessions. If you need Thursday night accommodations, please be sure to note on your registration. If you'll be checking in before 6 p.m. and would like dinner Thursday evening, be sure to mark that as well. We'll have an early breakfast available Friday morning for those staying Thursday evening. For those coming in Friday morning, we'll have a wide array of refreshments available at registration.