Foundation Offers Laity Academy


The United Methodist Foundation’s first Laity Academy class includes, from left, front row: Mary Blackford, Johnstown District; Beth Miller, Butler Dist.; Phyllis Rager, Johnstown District; Karen Martin, Connellsville District; Erica Rushing, Erie-Meadville District and Peggy Senior, Indiana District.  Back row, from left: Pam Honeychurch, Pittsburgh District; Al Getty, Greensburg District; Shaun Panek, Kane District; Rick Thomas, Washington District; Ted Curran, Franklin District, Ed Kennedy, Indiana District.

New Cohort Forming for Fall 2020

The United Methodist Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, which launched a Laity Leadership Academy in 2019, will offer the program to a new group of participants beginning in the summer-fall of 2020. Patterned after the Foundation’s Pastors’ Academy for Stewardship Formation, the Laity Leadership Academy is designed to empower laity to lead the connection in the ever-changing landscape of congregational life.

Each Academy is structured around two modules. In the first module, participants read some great books on leadership, experience seminars led by Western PA Conference leaders, engage with one another in dialogue, and build relationships that provide support for the journey.

The group gathers in various locations four or five times over the course of a year for weekend retreats to focus on topics relevant to congregational leadership in the current culture.

The second module is custom-designed for each participant, allowing exploration of an area of leadership for which she or he is especially well-equipped. The focus area is determined  after an assessment of the participant’s spiritual gifts and strengths. The module’s timeframe is open-ended; it can be accomplished at whatever pace makes sense to the individual participant.

The 2020 session of the Laity Academy will begin in the late summer or fall. 

For enrollment information, contact the Dean of the Academy, Rev. Joe Patterson, at