Conference to teach how to lead at work, church and home

This summer, Denver-area Christians have an opportunity to participate in an international ecumenical leadership conference by joining in a local live satellite broadcast of the 2014 Global Leadership Summit.

The two-day summit will to be held at the Willow Creek Association in South Barrington, Ill., near Chicago Aug. 14-15, while being simultaneously streamed on screens in more than 14,000 churches, including Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch.

“We’re convinced that leadership is critical to church vitality,” according to the Willow Creek website. “A church’s effectiveness in pursuing its God-given mission is largely dependent on the character, devotion and skill of its leadership core—which can be formal or informal, staff or volunteer, clergy or laity.”

The summit will feature talks from a variety of leaders including best-selling Catholic author and businessman Patrick Lencioni; president and CEO of General Electric Jeffrey Immelt; former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina; and actor and philanthropist Tyler Perry.

Father Doug Grandon, parochial vicar at St. Thomas More, has attended the seminar the last two years.

“I learn a great deal from business leaders who share their experience managing human and financial resources,” he said of past summits, “and find it easy to apply business principles to the business of the Church.”

He encourages deacons, priests and seminarians to attend, as well as business leaders and lay ministers.

“As a former Evangelical myself, I appreciate the zeal for souls evidenced by the Evangelical leaders who speak at the GLS,” Father Grandon continued. “We Catholics have much to learn from them about the successful evangelization of the unchurched, in particular.”

Debbie Scott, a parishioner at St. Thomas More Church in Centennial and Denver-area GLS coordinator, attended the summit last year for the first time.

“The GLS offers a different approach; a Christian flavor to leadership,” Scott said—specifically mentioning parish staff, religious women, youth ministers, students and parents as potential attendees as well. “It’s for anyone looking for better leadership skills at their parish, work, or at home.”

In addition to the talks, attendees can gather with other Catholics to network during lunch and breakout sessions to be led by Father Grandon and Deacon Steve Stemper, deacon at St. Thomas More and CEO and president of The Catholic Foundation of Northern Colorado.

The Catholic Foundation has a code to allow participants to attend at a discounted rate if registering by June 23. For more information, contact Scott at or 303-688-3380. Cherry Hills Community Church is located at 3900 E. Grace Blvd. in Highlands Ranch.

COMING UP: From the wilderness to the Promised Land: Learn your faith in the SJV Lay Division

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One of the famous episodes in the Old Testament is the wandering of Israel in the wilderness. The descendants of Abraham, whom God promised land to come to his descendants, wander for 40 years before they enter that land. A time of great miracles, to be certain – the manna in the wilderness, the rock that gushed forth water. But also a time of hardship and death – many battles that were lost, plagues that come up on the people. All of which is why the wilderness is associated with a time of great testing in the Scriptures.

We may seem like we are in our own wilderness today, aimlessly wandering without a sense of where life is going. Know that we, too, at the Lay Division of the Seminary, particularly our Biblical and Catechetical School instructors, intimately felt this great testing this past academic year. For the first time ever, we had classes online, by sheer force of circumstance in a world of coronavirus restrictions. In many ways, we felt our own desert wondering – unable to see students in person, unable to have normal interactions with students, lecturing to a little dot on a computer screen, seeing black screens with everybody muted, with no idea if students were smiling, laughing, crying, sleeping, or whatever else may be! This was, in many respects, wandering in the wilderness institutionally. Thankfully, the one thing that we can say for certain is that all of our lives fall under God’s infinitely wise, lovingly providential hand. It’s not merely cliché to say that God will bring good out of evil, but a true statement. And so we trust. God knows, and God takes care of all those who are faithful. And God works all things for good for those who trust in Him.

This upcoming academic year will be the start of a slow reintegration of our classes into parishes. However, we will still keep an online presence, with half of our classes returning to in-person locations throughout the Archdiocese of Denver and half remaining online. Certainly one of the positives about teaching classes online, and perhaps the good that God will bring for us institutionally out of our wilderness of this past year, is that it allows for expansion to reach potential students who otherwise aren’t capable of attending our in-person classes. Given that, taking a class with us will never be easier! It doesn’t matter what part of Colorado you live in — you can take a class online with us!

If you’ve never heard of who we are, then let me briefly introduce our institution: we are the Lay Division at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary for the Archdiocese of Denver. This makes our seminary unique: not just the formation of future clerics, but also a division dedicated to the formation of the laity. Our mission is to put people in contact and communion with Jesus, who alone leads us to the heart of the Father in the Spirit. We do this through various offerings which study God’s call to each and every person to have a personal relationship with him in the Church that he established with the Precious Blood of Jesus. Our two flagship programs are the Denver Catholic Biblical School, a four year study of the Sacred Scriptures, and the Denver Catholic Catechetical School, a two year study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We also offer various other programs of study – year long “Enrichment Courses” in different topics of the faith, short courses throughout the year, lecture series throughout the liturgical seasons, and day-long workshops. Wherever you’re at in your faith, we have something for everybody!

Classes for this upcoming year begin on Monday, Sept. 13. Visit to see all of the options for classes, locations/online times, information sessions, and to register. Make the choice to study with us to learn your faith and come to know and love Jesus Christ!