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Picture of Michael Purintun
October 2014 Seminars Are Open
by Michael Purintun - Tuesday, 7 October 2014, 04:29 PM

fall-leaves-03October seminars at the Oates Institute offer a great breadth for our members, friends, and guests. We have seminars exploring fiction and spirituality to those exploring various aspects of grief, and how to work with people dealing with end of life issues. We will also explore what to do when religion itself gets sick. While Wayne Oates wrote his classic many years ago, the analysis and questions he raises apply to us today. We are also bringing back some of our more popular seminars, Fiction, Spirituality, and Holistic Care at the End of Life and Salve to the Soul. Join us!

As many of you know, Oates Institute seminars are free for members, but they are also open to non-members for a small fee. If you have not tried a seminar, you may wish to take this opportunity to take one and experience for yourself the difference of our connected learning. Our members are from not just the United States and Canada, but also include participants and facilitators from around the world.

sweetbyandbyFiction, Spirituality, and Holistic Care at End of Life—October 6-24, 2014. Stories that help us give meaning to life experiences and insights into how we relate to others, especially as care givers, are often shared as fiction. In this seminar, we are going to look at the stories told by Todd Johnson in his book, The Sweet By and By. Read More.

bookcov-grievingGrieving: Helping People Invite God Into their Pain—October 6-24, 2014 . We grieve in many ways and for many things. When confronted with loss and changes in life, whether it is divorce, aging, loss of a job, acceptance of infertility, or loss of a spouse or friend, we are presented with challenges that invite us to review the process of grieving, even if others do not accept it as a situation that warrants grief. Our culture may not encourage or recognize losses as grief, but when we struggle through the process, we know assuredly that our struggle and challenges are laced with grief. Read more.

bereaved-parentPastoral Care for Bereaved Parents—October 6-24, 2014. We have words for children whose parents have died and for spouses whose spouse has died, but we do not have a word for parents whose child has died. Through writings and movies this seminar explores this experience and some avenues for providing pastoral and spiritual care. Read more.

hildegaardmandalaSalve to the Soul: Storytelling, Identity, and Healing—October 6-24, 2014 . Pastoral caregivers, whether chaplains or pastors of congregations, play an important role in helping people process illness, injury, and other challenges to health and wholeness, but the relationships they form take very different shapes. Salve to the Soul aims to help all kinds of ministry professionals connect with individuals through story-sharing to explore multiple dimensions of healing and wholeness. Read more.

ghost-storiesSpirituality of the Ghost Story—October 6-24, 2014. Ghost stories are often morality tales and are ways of expressing spiritual and ethical ideas. This study is an avenue for the exploration of a particular kind of fiction to examine beliefs, folklore, traditions and spiritualities around the supernatural and how the world of the unknown can brush day-to-day lives and shake them up. Read more.


When Religion Gets Sick—October 6-24, 2014. "Sick religion" is defined by Wayne Oates as one that "hinders the basic functions of life." In his classic book, When Religion Gets Sick, he uses a case history method for exploring religious pathology and addressing such questions as: When does religion get sick; What kinds of experiences result from sick religion; and How can spiritual caregivers help people who have such experiences? Read more.

If you have questions about registration or joining the Oates Institute, please direct those to

Picture of Michael Purintun
July 2014 Seminar Registration is Open
by Michael Purintun - Monday, 9 June 2014, 12:31 PM

rocky-shore-waterJuly seminars offer a real balance for Oates Institute Members and friends. Are you looking for class on boundaries and ethics, we have that. Or you can explore How to Care for Troublesome People or Exploring the Gifts of Imperfection. We are offering five seminars in July AND continuing our popular book studies with a book study on Peter Steinke's Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times (dates to be arranged).

As many of you know, Oates Institute seminars are free for members, but they are also open to non-members for a small fee. If you have not tried it, you may wish to take this opportunity to take a seminar and explore for yourself the difference of our connected learning. Our members are from not just the Unites States but also include a number of international participants and facilitators. Carl Aikin, from Australia, just finished a terrific class on Finding a Common Language tha treally dug into the issues of language in spiritual caregiving.

ctp-front-sHow to Care for Troublesome People—July 14–August 1, 2014. How can we approach troubled and troublesome people in our lives, whether in the congregation, the hospital, or whatever our work setting? How do we continue to be caring, affirming, and grounded in God's grace when dealing with them? This online seminar uses Dr. Wayne Oates' book, The Care of Troublesome People, and which explores the subject with a multi-disciplinary approach including family systems theory, to provide insightful analysis of five types of behavior that often create conflict, and biblically-based approaches for dealing with such behavior. Read More.

holding boundaries facesHolding the Boundaries: Professional ethics in practice—July 14–August 1, 2014. The issues of dual relationships and the intimacy of professional-client/patient/parishioner relationships frequently blindside care giving professionals; whether they are counselors, chaplains, pastors, social workers, or nurses. Read more.

bookcov-gifts-imperfection-bExploring the Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are—July 14–August 1, 2014. Who are we? Why do we so often fall short of our goals for ourselves and others? By seeking to understand our limitations and accepting the inevitably of failure and pain, we begin to ease the hurt and move toward a greater sense of serenity and self-awareness. Read more.

fishingExploring the Power of Story in Spiritual Care—July 14-August 1, 2014. We are all made up of stories that shape our faith, our identity, our lives. As spiritual caregivers, we are often presented with quantitative information that describes the lives of those we serve; teasing out the narratives that make up who we are can bear tremendous and healing fruit. These stories are sometimes gritty and realistic, and sometimes they feel like "fish stories," but in every case they reveal truth about who we are, what we need, and what we have to offer. Read more.

Struggle to Be Free: Learning and sharing our stories—July 14–August 1, 2014. Wayne Oates wrote "Life without struggle is but dull habit. Life with struggle is often painful and sometimes perilous, but always adventurous." This seminar invites participants to explore how the story of our struggle to be free, whether from fear, poverty, racism, sexism, or whatever, intersects with Wayne Oates' experience as described in his book, The Struggle to Be Free, and how we might help those we serve to explore the stories of their own struggle to be free. Read more.


July Book Group: Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times by Peter Steinke—July dates tbd. The book group for July will explore the book Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What by Peter L. Steinke. Further information and dates for this book group will be forthcoming. Read more.

If you have questions about registration or joining the Oates Institute, please direct those to

Chris Hammon
Register Now for January Seminars
by Chris Hammon - Friday, 15 November 2013, 10:13 AM

fire-verticalJanuary is a perfect month for taking advantage of online continuing education opportunities. Just settle in next to the fire and log in on your laptop to connect with colleagues around the world as part of one of the Oates Institute's online seminars. Seven seminars covering a variety of topics will be offered January 13-31. Each of these seminars provide participants with maximum schedule flexibility and 12 contact hours of approved continuing education credit in a social learning context.

During this month you may also take advantage of the Pastoral Care Group membership discount of 20% by becoming a member for $132 and registering for a seminar. Seminar registration is free for Oates Institute members.

January opportunities include:

sweetbyandby-buttonFiction, Spirituality, and Holistic Care —This seminar features the novel, The Sweet By and By, in which Todd Johnson shares with us the lives of five very different Southern women who unexpectedly connect in the context of a nursing home. In the midst of the stories, seminar participants will look at issues around holistic care and aging. It is fictional, but it is a great case study. (more...)

hope-bHope as a Dynamic for Healing addresses the role that the dynamic of hope plays in one's healing and overall health and wellbeing, which continues to take on more meaning as healthcare approaches become more integrated and holistic. (more...)

Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour-butHuman Values and Health Care — As we provide care for persons who are aged, impaired, or institutionalized and members of their families, how do we address the issues of Personal Autonomy, Informed Consent, Human Dignity, Futile Treatment, and Intervention? (more...)

ptb-ripplesThe Power to Bless The Power to Bless is one of the Oates Institute's most popular seminars. One participant described it as "Awesome!" Others have talked about it as life changing and ministry changing. This is a seminar that explores both the presence and absence of blessing in our lives. It reflects on blessing the next generation and the return of the blessing to the prior generation. (more...)

good-ideaThriving in the Whirlwind: Lifelong Learning for Effective Ministry Whether one is navigating through new stages of one's ministry career or adapting to cultural change, lifelong learning is a critical part of the process. This seminar will feature three presentations that will address why lifelong learning is a concern, lifelong learning as a spiritual discipline, and emerging opportunities for lifelong learning. (more...)

wrgs-bookWhen Religion Gets Sick — "Sick religion" is defined by Dr. Wayne Oates in his book, When Religion Gets Sick, as religion that "hinders the basic functions of life." The Oates Institute is offering a three-week online seminar October 3–21 to address questions such as: When does religion get sick? What kinds of experiences result from sick religion? How can spiritual caregivers help people who have such experiences? (more...)

book-cov-byock-butJanuary Book Group: The Best Possible Care (January 27-31) — Dr. Ira Byock, one of the foremost palliative-care physicians in the country, argues that end-of-life care is among the biggest national crises facing us today. In addressing the crisis, politics has trumped reason. Dr. Byock explains that to ensure the best possible care for those we love-and eventually ourselves- we must not only remake our healthcare system, we must also move past our cultural aversion to talking about death and acknowledge the fact of mortality once and for all. (more...)

how-to-buttonPre-Conference Workshop: How to Get the Most Out of the Online Conference In anticipation of Envisioning the Future of Spiritual Care February 5-14, the Oates Institute will be hosting a free Pre-Conference How-to Workshop that will be open to everyone January 21-22. This will be a nuts and bolts, how-to-do-it workshop that will introduce the various tools and platforms we are using for the conference. It is a workshop that will allow you to try everything out to see how it works and whether it works on your computer. (more...)

January seminars run January 13-31. They offer 12 contact hours of continuing eduction credit and they are free for Oates Institute members (and only $35–90 per seminar for non-members).

Participants are invited to join in small group peer-to-peer learning as they engage in conversation around presented resources combined with the opportunity to reflect on and share, out of their experience. By using email discussion groups and online classrooms, participants may engage in the seminars as it is convenient to their schedules. Registration is free for Oates Institute Clinical members and $90 for non-members. Registration for each seminar is limited to 12 participants. The registration deadline is Wednesday, October 2. Seminars may be postponed or cancelled if there are insufficient registrations.

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For more information on the upcoming Clinical seminars

Order texts and movies for January seminars

Welcome to the Online Classrooms for the Wayne E. Oates Institute.

If you are registered for a seminar of if you are working with a committee or peer learning group, just log in with the user name and password WE PROVIDED. If you use a different user name and password, you may not get to your seminar. To register for seminars, look for upcoming seminars in the Clinical and Congregational sections of the Oates Institute Online at
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