AnamCara redefines ministry. It embodies a shift from seeing ourselves working solo in virtual isolation to identifying ourselves as pastors serving from an intentional community. It stands in the lively tradition of other renewal efforts to provide sacred spaces for the transforming power of small, caring circles of trust.
AnamCara is a network of small collegial circles of five to eight clergy leaders of congregations who meet for one full day a month with a facilitator to offer mutual support, collaboration and accountability in their practices of theological reflection and discernment, leadership and soul care. In addition, AnamCara participants will connect each week with brief “check-ins” via the internet. Beginning with an overnight retreat, each AnamCara group clarifies its covenant for the year and gets underway with being in community. At the end of the year, the group will evaluate the experience, celebrate its worth and decide whether to renew or terminate the covenant.
More simply, AnamCara is about friends, soul friends, friends with whom we share the passion of common calling. In the Celtic tradition, a person who acted as teacher, companion, and spiritual guide was called an anam cara (soul friend), hence the name for this vision, AnamCara.
Specifically, AnamCara addresses the longings sufficiently strong to consider such a base community.
- Weary from the isolation and fatigue of overly privatized ministry, you are drawn to colleagues with whom you are out of the leadership role, yet with those who understand the role from the inside out.
- Leading in the midst of theological ferment, you would value a setting with vocational friends who also strive for theological clarity and discernment.
- Overseeing and guiding a complex congregational organization, you may long for a balcony, a place apart with colleagues that offers the emotional distance, perspective, and feedback that leadership requires.
- Knowing the risk of losing your soul within the role, you might welcome a place apart with peers who share your desire to reconnect with the Source of your calling and reclaim your core identity in God’s grace, not work.
A full description of this option can be found in my book, AnamCara, Collegial Clergy Communities.
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For a comprehensive description of this model refer to my book AnamCara: Collegial Clergy Communities.
Copies of the book are available through About the Book links on this site.