At-Large Cohorts

At Large Cohort Leaders gather a small group of church leaders (rostered and lay) in ELCA Regions 1 & 2 around a theme. If you are interested in journeying through this program with that lens, please fill out the interest form. Learn more about our excellent Cohort Leaders.

Black, Indigenous, People of Color

Cohort Leader: Regina Banks

Spanish speaking

Cohort Leader: Pastor Maria Paiva

Esta es una invitación abierta para todas las pastoras y pastores en ministerio latino para refrescarnos espiritualmente en comunidad en nuestra jornada pastoral a través de oración contemplativa, meditaciones, música, manualidades, arte y otras cosas mas. Se ofrecerán doce sesiones virtuales comenzando el martes 26 de octubre a las 2 pm (hora del Pacifico) y terminando el 8 de febrero, 2022 (10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 1/4, 1/11. 1/18, 1/25, 2/1 y 2/8/22). Todo será en español. Si desea recibir más información y para inscribirse por favor comuníquese con la Rev. María Paiva

This is an open invitation for pastors in Latino Ministry to refresh ourselves spiritually in community through contemplative prayer, meditation, music, arts and crafts and many other ways. There will be 12 virtual sessions beginning Tuesday, October 26 at 2 pm (Pacific time) and concluding February 8, 2022 (10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 1/4, 1/11. 1/18, 1/25, 2/1 y 2/8/22). Sessions will be in Spanish. If you would like more information or would like to register, please contact Rev. Maria Paiva at

Urban Ministry 

Cohort Leader: Pastor Linda Boston

This cohort is open to both rostered and non-rostered leaders in urban ministry contexts. 


Cohort Leader: Drew Stever

WHO? LGBTQIA+ ordained pastors, deacons, seminarians, and non-ordained congregational leaders; led by Rev. Drew Stever, Lead Pastor serving at Hope Lutheran Church in Hollywood, CA. Those questioning and discerning identity welcome. 

WHAT? A small group for LGBTQIA2S+ leaders in Regions 1 and 2 in the ELCA. Our time together will be formed around the needs of the community, including, but not limited to meditations, community processing, arts and crafts, and/or movement. This will be a time for us to be our full authentic selves with each other and for each other. 

WHEN? We will gather for 12 sessions, to be scheduled, beginning in 2021 and carrying into 2022.

WHERE? We will meet virtually via Zoom. 

WHY? We will come together because we are hungry for queer-centric, faith-specific spaces. We will come together with authenticity, bravery and realness. We will come together with the intent of supporting one another in our ministries, life-paths, and wonderings. We will come together because we cannot do this ourselves.

You can also contact Rev. Drew Stever (they/he) at with questions.

Youth ministry

Cohort Leader: Elizabeth Hood

Who? Anyone serving in full or part time youth ministry positions in the ELCA. Led by Elizabeth Hood, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Grace Lutheran Church Palo Alto, CA 

What? A space to gather, support and strengthen our faith, to find community with people who understand what it means to serve in youth ministry, the joys and the frustrations. 

When? We will gather for 12 sessions, to be scheduled, beginning in 2021 and carrying into 2022.

Where? We will meet virtually via Zoom. 

Why? As youth leaders we don’t need to plan a million more events, we need real support to do our ministry effectively. You are invited to consider participating in this honest conversation about life and youth ministry. I hope you will consider joining us in this brave space to support each other in this crazy fun wild thing called youth ministry. Let’s vent and celebrate together!

You can also contact Elizabeth Hood at with questions. 


Cohort Leader: Tammy Rismiller

As Deacons, we have a unique calling to our faith communities.  Each of our callings are individual and unique in a wide range of settings, but we are all united as Deacons.  Our work is difficult, challenging, daring, and life-giving.   I am inviting you to join me in the Thriving Leadership Formation – Deacon Cohort. Together, we will grow in faith, build community, find a safe place to share, and help each other thrive as faith leaders.

Non-congregational settings

Cohort Leader: Jen Rude, she/her/hers

Are you a rostered leader serving in ministry beyond the congregation? Maybe in a school, hospital, non-profit, prison, or outdoor ministry?  It’s been a wild 18 months and many of us are running on empty, longing for time and space to pause and make meaning, and desiring a greater sense of the Spirit in our lives and in the lives of our communities.  This Thriving Leaders cohort group of rostered leaders serving beyond the congregation will provide time and space to connect, engage, and be renewed through spiritual practices and sacred community.  Facilitated by Pastor Jen Rude, University Pastor at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA.

Tentative meeting time of Tuesdays, 10-11:30am, Pacific Time, via zoom

Part-time ministry

Cohort Leader: Kim Gonia

Some pastors and deacons are in part-time calls by choice. Some are not. For some, a part-time call is a challenging experience as they grapple with how to be in ministry in a way they were not trained for and with a congregation that may be struggling to come to terms with having a leader only part-time. For others, a part-time call is a life-giving experience as they focus on developing a sense of shared ministry with a congregation, or are able to express their call in a number of vocational opportunities. Regardless of where you find yourself, this group is meant to be a place where we can be refreshed for the particular expression of leadership. This group is for pastors and deacons in any synod of Regions 1 and 2.

Partners of rostered leaders

Cohort Leader: Jamie Misner 

Is your partner “called” to ministry? This Thriving Leadership Formation cohort group is geared for partners of Roster Leaders in the ELCA. Whether you attend church or not, your partner is on their first call or last, this space is open to ALL who are a part of this unique role, if “role” is what it can even be called anymore. Our time together will consist of 12 meetings broken up into 3 parts: Love Of God, Love Of Self, and Love Of Others. We will gather over Zoom every other week on either Thursday evenings or an early weekday morning. We ask you to set aside 2 hours for each meeting. Join us in this safe space and connect with others who share this common thread, having a partner affixed to ministry.

Second career women in ministry

Cohort Leader: Nancy Switzler

Are you a second career female pastor, church leader, or seminarian? This group will provide a place for those of us who have entered ministry later than others, those bringing different life histories, skills, work experience, and relationships. My hope and prayer for this contemplative group is that we experience a place that is nourishing and safe. If this group appeals to you, please join us on this journey that promises to deepen our relationships with God, self, and neighbor.

Dates: November 2, 16, 30; December 14; January 11, 25; February 8, 22; March 8, 22; April 5, 19

Time will be 10:00am-11:30am or 3:00pm-4:30pm (please indicate your preferred time)

First call 

Cohort Leaders: Valerie and Dan Carlson

If ministry isn’t what you expected, you are not alone – even if it feels like it some (most) of the time.  For pastors in a first call anywhere other than the synod hub, ministry can be lonely and daunting.  We face unique challenges in leading congregations to follow Jesus in new, often uncomfortable, public ways bearing witness to the gospel’s opposition to any and all systems that dehumanize God’s beloved people.  We can’t do this alone and we don’t have to. Join us.