A New Day Dawning: Leading the Church Toward the Light

Greetings, Dear Colleagues!

On this page, you will find the complete “New Day Dawning: Leading the Church Toward the Light” workshop for your use in your own setting.

The free, multi-part workshop featuring videos from Lancaster Seminary senior faculty is designed to be a church re-orientation starter for pastors, congregations, and the wider church. It attempts to address the question, “What do churches need to know right now to live into bright and robust futures?”

All of the video links are included here, as well as suggestions about how to use the program if you choose to do so. Of course you may feel free to use this material – in whole or in part – in any way that is life-giving (e.g., pastoral enrichment, church council retreats, congregational conversations, adult education series, clergy group studies, etc.)

Also, feel free to share this with any ecumenical partner you think might be interested and who might find it useful. You may simply forward the link to this site as well.

If you have questions or comments about the workshop, email newdaydawning@lancasterseminary.edu. Please also use that email address to share creative ways you use the material. We might post your ideas on social media once we become established there.

And if you want to know more about the presenters or Lancaster Seminary and its degree, certificate, and continuing education programs, explore this site.

In any case, this workshop is offered as a gift. May it be so.

Many Blessings,


Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma
Senior Adjunct Professor




The Current Context of the Church/A New Opportunity (~3 minutes)

Dr. David Rowe, Interim President from July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021

Program Overview (~5 minutes)

Rev. Dr. Vanessa Lovelace, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean



The Church: Always the Same, Always Changing (~21 minutes)

Dr. Anne Thayer, Professor of Church History

America’s Changing Religious Landscape (~18 minutes)

Dr. Lee Barrett, Professor of Systematic Theology

Facilitated Listening (~7 minutes)

Rev. Dr. Kathy Harvey-Nelson, Ministerial Formation Coordinator

Small Group Listening Sessions (20-40 minutes at your discretion)

Form a group or groups ideally of between 6 and 10 people. (Groups can be larger if desired but that may require allotting more time.)

You will make the group space holy with your attentive and loving presence. You might light a candle in the center of the group circle or create a low-lying “altar” that somehow reflects the theme but does not obstruct peoples’ ability to see each other.

Your main tasks in the group are: 1) to LISTEN as others share what they are feeling about the current state of the church in the world, and 2) when it is your turn, to share what you are feeling.

Depending on familiarity, say your name and where you are from, then share from YOUR OWN experience. You might talk about sadness, grief and despair, about anxiety and fear, about joy and excitement, about hopefulness, or any combination of those emotions and more.

Each speaker should be given a pre-determined time of between two and four minutes to share while all others simply listen. Honor each speaker’s sharing by pausing in silence between one speaker and the next.

Begin this group activity with a moment of collective silence before the first person speaks. Breathe together. Settle in. Be present with and for each other.

(Recommended Option: View the “Our Town” video from the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars” on YouTube at the beginning of this time of reflection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng0dUnZtxEc )




Living Systems and Organizational Creativity (~14 minutes)

Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma, Senior Adjunct Professor

Adaptive Leadership (~24 minutes)

Rev. Dr. Larry Peers, Adjunct Professor

The Church Beyond Itself (~14 minutes)

A Conversation with Rt. Rev. Dr. Nathan Baxter, Senior Adjunct Professor

A Consolidation Break – 5 minutes

During this time, please think about and jot down ideas that have caught your attention so far in this workshop. What has aroused your curiosity, engaged your imagination, or knocked you off balance in some way that might lead you to constructive change? What has “disturbed” you? Has anything rocked your world in a way that seems liberating or at least worth thinking more about?


The Bible as a Dynamic Story of Hope (~9 minutes total)

Dr. Julia M. O’Brien, Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Dr. Greg Carey, Professor of New Testament

Resources for the Journey (~6 minutes)

Deaconess Myka Kennedy Stephens, Associate Professor of Theological Bibliography

Sustaining the Light (~12 minutes total)

Rev. Dr. Catherine E. Williams, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship

Rev. Dr. Melvin Baber, Field Education Coordinator

“We Are Marching in the Light of God” (Posted by Chet Valley Churches – used with permission)


After the credits, wrap-up the program in whatever way seems appropriate for your setting and your people. You might, for example, close with a summary conversation, with silence, with prayer or worship, or in some other creative way.

(RECOMMENDED BONUS ENDING: “This Little Light of Mine” by Bruce Springsteen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0qAYq1GVec)