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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    How Tending the Soul benefitted two District Superintendents

    August 26, 2019 / By UNY Communications

    Tending the Soul (TTS), open to both laity and clergy, is a program designed to train individuals in Missional Spiritual Direction and Congregational Formation.  The two-year training program (which takes place during six retreats) offers learning and formational experiences in classroom and small group settings. 

    The Rev. Jan Rowell and the Rev. Brigid Farrell both felt that Tending the Soul immensely benefitted them as District Superintendents. Here is what they have to say about Tending the Soul.

    “Spiritual Direction shaped my work as a District Superintendent.  In conversations with pastors, I listened for ways their call is lived out and encourage their attention to that call in their day to day ministry.  In congregations I asked reflective questions and highlighted ways that God seemed to be at work.  Through the multiple complex challenges that came to me in that role, I have learned to lean into God’s grace and power to shape the way forward. There are various courses and experiences that train people as spiritual leaders.  [Tending the Soul] provides exceptional depth and integrated learning.  I continue to benefit from my training in that program.”

    Rev. Jan Rowell (Former Oneonta District Superintendent)

    [Tending the Soul] has given me the ability to let go and let God especially in the crisis/anxious places, it has taught me to listen with a ‘third ear’ so others can receive the gift of being heard, it has enabled me to look for God in the challenges, to see the larger picture, and to lift up the hope and promise.  And so as I travel through my District, I know that I cannot ‘fix’ things for folks, but I can offer a place of sacred listening where their stories can be heard and they can be invited to look for what God is doing in their midst.

    Rev. Brigid Farrell (Former Vermont District Superintendent)

    Click here to learn more about Tending the Soul—the next two-year session begins November 11-14, 2019.


    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."