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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. Register today to reserve your place!

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: Faith Mitchell, CEO, Grantmakers in Health

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: 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. 2017 workshop topics (working titles) include:

Strengthening Families Program: a proven way to help church and community families enjoy happier, better-behaved kids, happier marriages and family relationships, increased social skills and school performance, and more.

Planning Freezer Meal Outreach Events: learn how your church can organize freezer meal preparation events and help those in your congregation and community benefit from this economical, time-saving way to prepare nutritious meals. This workshop will also include hands-on preparation of some quick bread mixes you can take home.

Healthy Congregations Planning Workshop: round up your team members and join Katie and Judy as they provide answers to your questions about possible programs and strategies to support your chosen health ministry initiatives. This time is also an opportunity to share successes and learnings, and dialogue with other teams.

Leadership Lessons for the Second Half of Life: retirement can be the most purpose-filled, satisfying, and fun phase of your life - but getting there takes thoughtful planning and preparation.

Summer Food Program Panel: learn about the experiences and achievements of fellow HC churches in addressing childhood hunger and engaging their communities through this special HC opportunity.

Circles of Hope: find out more about how your church can help improve the financial health and well-being of your community and its residents through this proven program addressing financial barriers to prosperity.

Early Childhood Experiences and Development: 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.

Practical Advice on Health Coverage and Policy Issues: receive useful advice on helping uninsured and underinsured persons identify and access available coverage options and learn more about how some of the health policy issues at play in Kansas and nationally affect those in our congregations and communities.

Holy Humor: Have you heard this one? "A priest, a pastor, and an imam walk into a bar. They tell stories and laugh, and the 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.

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.

Click here to pre-register for the 2017 Retreat and reserve your space!

2017 Retreat Program & Schedule - Tentative

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.