First-time Rectors Gather in Weekapaug, RI

December 20, 2016

November 6-7, Weekapaug, RI - Dean McGowan, along with mentors The Rev. Dr. Carol Pinkham Oak ’86 M.Div., The Rev. Dr. James Lemler, and Berkeley’s Director of Development Pamela Wesley Gomez, welcomed ten Berkeley graduates from around the U.S. who are serving as first-time Rectors to a two-day retreat in Rhode Island last month.

Participants discussed the challenges of leading contemporary faith communities, including fostering community, and 

spiritual and financial leadership. Their time together reflects Berkeley’s expanding commitment to continuing education opportunities that support clergy and other graduates at different stages of their ministry.

Asked about the importance of the initiative, Jim Lemler noted, “the support and capacity building for leaders who come to their first responsibility as rectors is essential.  It is part of the vision for growth mission of BDS and will yield immediate results for these leaders in their time of transition and new beginning.”
Carol Pinkham Oak added, “Spiritual leadership means balancing the emotional, spiritual, financial and contextual dynamics of the congregation you serve along with both healthy leadership practices and your holy habits that sustain you in your life in Christ.” The group will convene again in the spring, and BDS will gather other groups of graduates and friends for similar experiences of learning with peers and experience mentors.
This gathering was sponsored in part by The Wesley Royce program in Leadership Formation, which also supports colloquia for BDS students and Berkeley’s Summer Symposium for alums and others in ministry. This year’s Wesley Royce Summer Symposium, June 5-6, will continue the Berkeley focus on supporting graduates, in the form of a retreat for BDS graduates of the past decade at the Greenberg Center at Yale. 
For information on new opportunities for graduates for continuing education, support, and mentoring, contact Pam Wesley Gomez at