Steinke to Speak on ‘Congregational Health’

Peter StinkePeter L. Steinke, a Lutheran pastor and counselor who has done nationwide consulting on nurturing healthy relationships in congregations, will give a public address on “Tending to Mission in a Time of Anxiety” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mar. 2, in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at Eastern Mennonite University.

Dr. Steinke, author of nine books including “Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach,” has done work on the cutting edge of a perspective that recognizes congregations as “emotional systems.” He uses “systems theory” to understand the emotional reactions people have to one another when they come together in congregational settings.

In his presentation, Steinke will explore how the increasing anxiety in society affects these emotional reactions and how these responses in turn affect a congregation’s capacity for mission.

During his career, Steinke has started a new congregation in Virginia, a home for emotionally disturbed youth in North Carolina, the Interfaith Pastoral Counseling Center in Illinois, and a clergy care program in Texas.
More recently, in addition to developing the Healthy Congregations Workshops, he initiated the Bridgebuilder Ministry, a training program for churches in conflict.

Steinke is conducting a Mar. 1-3 “Healthy Congregations Facilitator Training” workshop at EMS, designed to help persons conduct similar workshops in congregations of all sizes.

Steinke’s appearances here are co-sponsored by Eastern Mennonite Seminary, the Harrisonburg District of the United Methodist Church and Lancaster (PA) Mennonite Conference. Admission to the Mar. 2 public program is free.

For more information, contact Kenton T. Derstine, director of the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at EMS, 540-432-4565.