September 21-22, 2023
The Grammar of Vocation: Ways to Shift the Language and Practice of Our Callings
- In-person at Episcopal House of Prayer, 14215 Fruit Farm Rd, Collegeville, MN 56321
- Online participation through Zoom
The presentation portions of this event will be recorded. By registering to participate in the event you are consenting to being recorded.
Summary of Sessions
What does the language of calling and vocation mean for us today? It seems Christians have lost this important belief and practice. Through 14 years of field research and theological study conducted at the Collegeville Institute, Kathleen Cahalan and a group of scholars and practitioners have worked to reinvigorate the way we frame calling. Callings are relational, dynamic, changing, life-long, and varied. The language of calling in the Christian life does not make sense without a relationship to the Caller, which many people lack today. How can the language and practice of calling reinvigorate our relationship to God? In addition to exploring the language for calling, we will examine discernment as the spiritual practice of vocation.
Kathleen A. Cahalan is professor of practical theology at Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary where she teaches courses on pastoral ministry, pastoral care, and spirituality. As senior research fellow at Collegeville Institute, she directed a ten-year collaborative research project that studied various aspects of vocation. She co-edited two volumes from the project: Calling All Years Good: Vocation throughout Life’s Seasons (2017) and Calling in Today’s World: Voices from Eight Faith Perspectives (2016). She has also authored books for church audiences, including Stories We Live: Finding God’s Calling All around Us (2017) and Living Your Discipleship: Seven Ways to Express Your Deepest Calling, co-authored with Laura Kelly Fanucci (2015). She has served as the coordinator for the Lilly Endowment’s Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative from 2018-2022.
Overview of Sessions
Session 1: The Grammar of Vocation I
In this opening session, we will explore the language of calling. Kathleen will share her research findings from the past 10 years on why the language of vocation and calling is neither compelling or animating for many Christians when they hear it. We will also explore the kinds of experiences people shared with us related to their callings, which in fact can reawaken their sense of purpose and meaning in relationship to God and others. While Christians often use the terms “vocation” and “calling” as a noun, Kathleen will reframe the language to focus on prepositions, small words that evoke relationship. We will discuss being called by God, to discipleship, and as I am.
Session 2: The Grammar of Vocation II
In this session we will explore two more prepositions: for others, in which we will look at our callings to work and profession, especially chaplaincy, and through others, how God has worked to call us through others and how we are agents of calling for others.
Session 3: The Grammar of Vocation III
The language of calling is often tripped up by our culture’s emphasis on the individual coupled with a strong sense of choice and privilege. What happens to our sense of calling when we are sick, unemployed, or face situations not of our own choosing, such as caregiving or under-employment. How does our sense of calling relate to trauma and suffering? We will explore these experiences through being called from people, places, and things; through Luther’s notion of being called in the place that I am; and being called within the life of God, an eternal calling beyond our death.
Session 4: Discernment: The Spiritual Practice of Calling
Callings are supported through spiritual practice: its crucial to keep our spiritual senses open to the Holy One and our personal senses open to ourselves and others. Discernment is a key spiritual practice that helps us stay attuned to the movement of the divine, anchoring our choices in the deep well of God’s movement and presence. Kathleen will discuss discernment through four movements: seeking, sorting, waiting, and choosing. How do we each practice discernment? How can we expand our practice to sustain our lives and work at this time?
Session 5: Nurturing Our Callings through Spiritual Practice
In addition to discernment, what other spiritual practices can keep alive our sense of calling, especially through transitions, losses, and new beginnings? How might practices of story-telling, lectio divina, spiritual direction, and Sabbath help attune our sense of calling (to name a few)? What spiritual practices do you need to recommit to or start anew at this point in your life?
Note that all times listed below are in Central Time. View the detailed schedule for times listed in other time zones.
Thursday, September 21
1:00-1:45 pm Registration
2:00 pm Welcome and Prayer (the start for online participants)
2:30 pm Session One
4:00 pm Break
4:15 pm Session Two
5:45 pm Break
6:00 pm Dinner (included in conference registration )
7:00 pm Session Three (ending at 8:30 pm)
Friday, September 22
8:00 am Breakfast (included for overnight guests only)
9:15 am Morning Prayer (optional, the start for online participants)
9:30 am Session Four
11:00 am Break
11:15 am Education Committee Discussion
11:45 am Break
12:00 pm Lunch (included in conference registration)
1:00 pm Session Five
2:30 pm Closing Prayer/Evaluations
8.00 Continuing Education Hours have been granted by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains
NACC Certification Competencies Covered by the Conference: ITP1.2, PIC1, PIC2, PIC3, PPS5
In-person Registration: August 25, 2022
Online Participation: September 15, 2023
~ Registration is not considered complete until payment is received. ~
*Shared room is available ONLY to those living within the same household.
**Student rate is available to CPE Students, Graduate Students, and NACC Student members.
All in-person and online attendees will have access to the recordings of the event.
In-person Overnight Registration Rates
Overnight accommodation is limited and will be assigned based on when registration is received. The primary accommodation location will be the Episcopal House of Prayer (14215 Fruit Farm Rd, Collegeville, MN 56321). If needed additional accommodations will be available at St. John’s Abbey (2900 Abbey Plaza, Collegeville, MN 56321).
Please note: Episcopal House of Prayer single/double bedrooms include bed, sink, desk, chair, and reading lamp. There are separate toilet and shower facilities for women and men. Towels and sheets are provided. Please plan to bring items for your personal needs.
- Full registration with private room ($175) ~ includes conference fee, private room accommodation (Thursday), and three conference meals (Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast, Friday lunch)
- Full registration with shared room* ($155) ~ available ONLY to those living within the same household; includes conference fee, shared room accommodation (Thursday), and three conference meals (Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast, Friday lunch)
- Student** registration with private room ($140) ~ includes conference fee, private room accommodation (Thursday), and three conference meals (Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast, Friday lunch)
In-person Commuter Registration Rates
- Full registration for commuters ($125) ~ includes conference fee and two conference meals (Thursday dinner and Friday lunch)
- Full registration for student commuters ($80) ~ includes conference fee and two conference meals (Thursday dinner and Friday lunch)
Online Registration Rates
- Full registration for online participation ($120) ~ includes conference fee for online participation
- Full registration for online student* participation ($60) ~ includes conference fee for online participation
How to Register
Register online and pay using your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover Card OR if you prefer to send a check, register online and select “bill me later” and then send a check payable to the NACC to the NACC National Office, 4915 S Howell Avenue, Suite 501, Milwaukee WI 53207.
Navigate to the online registration system.
For more program information, please contact:
Nicole Reuter firstname.lastname@example.org