New programs focus on rural clergy and interreligious dialogue. Also, 10 links to read this month.

March 2017

At the Collegeville Institute we are seeing the first signs of spring: melting snow, robin sightings, and the occasional gust of warm air off Stumpf Lake. This month, we celebrated a new grant to invest in rural clergy leadership in Minnesota, as well as welcomed a new staff member Barry D. Cytron to lead our Interreligious Fellows program. Stay tuned for more details about these programs.

Here are links to our favorite articles and essays by Collegeville Institute-affiliated writers this month.

1. Does your church have a playground? How about a Pray Ground? Read Melissa Florer-Bixler's (Summers 2013, 2016) article about engaging young children in worship for Faith & Leadership.

2. Richard J. Mouw (former Board Member) is starting a new column titled "Civil Evangelism" at Religion News Services. In March, he wrote about living in “the time of God’s patience."

3. Deanna A. Thompson (Summer 2016) believes that the body of Christ has always been virtual. Also, check out this review of her new book in the Christian Century.

4. A pastor once told Briana Meade (Summer 2015), “I don’t know any theologically sound books written by women.” Read her response.

5. Karen E. Park (Summer 2016) considers the notion of "redemptive suffering" in her article on Carryn Owens, the widow featured in President Trump's speech.

6. From television programs The Crown to Victoria, Angela Alaimo O'Donnell (summer writing workshop participant) explores our collective obsession with the lives of English queens.

7. Did you know that former President George W. Bush has taken up portrait painting? Jon Malesic (Summer 2016) has a review of his new book in America.

8. Joan Chittister, OSB (Resident Scholar 1976 and former Board Member) wrote about the struggle for political consensus in the National Catholic Reporter.

9. Millions watched the viral BBC Dad video in March, but Rachel Marie Stone (Summer 2015) didn't think it was funny.

10. What is truth? Johnny Cash wrote a song about it, and G. Travis Norvell (Summers 2012, 2015) adapted the lyrics for 2017.

Keep scrolling for more news from the Collegeville Institute!

P.S. Want to nominate a link for next month's newsletter? Drop us a line at

Staff Picks

Kathleen A. Cahalan"This article will be of interest to anyone concerned about how we read (print vs. devices). Also, in Reviving Vocation to Public Service, I point out several ways in which religious traditions help us think about calling in relationship to work."

-- Kathleen A. Cahalan 
Program Director, Collegeville Institute Seminars

Carla Durand"I was touched by Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s essay in the New York Times titled Why You Might Want to Marry my Husband. Her piece speaks to what life is all about: grit and grace, challenge and courage, resilience and beauty, spirit and connection, all within the big, beautiful context of giving and receiving love."
-- Carla Durand 
Program Manager & Communications Associate

Gary Reierson"
Preaching in a Time of Political Anxiety by Matt Skinner has good, practical information for pastors who, week after week, are delivering sermons to congregants in uncertain times."

-- Gary Reierson 
Program Director, Collegeville Institute Fellows 


Latest from the Collegeville Institute

Rural Grant
The Collegeville Institute received a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to invest in clergy leadership in rural Minnesota.

Learn More »
Stories We Live

Kathleen A. Cahalan's new book about finding a new vocabulary for vocation was released this month.

Learn about The Stories We Live »


Featured articles on Bearings Online

La La Land

The Lenten Spirituality of La La Land

by L. Roger Owens

What does La La Land have to do with Lent? Both loosen our grip on fantasy, prodding us to embrace the incomplete lives we actually have.

Grammar of Calling

The Grammar of Our Callings: An Excerpt from The Stories We Live

by Kathleen A. Cahalan

Have you ever wondered what your calling is? Read an excerpt from The Stories We Live by Kathleen A. Cahalan.


by Eric Massanari

Read Eric Massanari's moving encounter with an elderly woman who tells him "I think you are so alive," unveiling his awareness of God's presence.


What Kind of God Do You Want?
A Review of Grounded

by Betsy Johnson-Miller

In this review of the book Grounded by Diana Butler Bass, Betsy Johnson-Miller wonders what is more dangerous: a distant God, or a customizable one?

Collegeville Institute Greats

Jim Shannon Collegeville Institute Greats
To celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we are looking back at significant figures in our history. Read a speech from Jim Shannon titled: "A Dozen Years of Grace."

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