The 2013 class of the Nollau Institute concluded its year of study with a retreat and consecration service on Dec. 12, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo.

Students agreed that it had been a formative and informative year. Renita White, vice president of housing support and workforce development for CHHSM ministry UCAN in Chicago, said that she has attended a number of leadership training programs in the past and was hesitant to begin another. However, she valued Nollau’s different approach to the curriculum.

“Many leadership concepts were revisited but with a focus on the theology of leadership, inclusive of self-organization, strength-based approaches, generational work patterns and organizational ethics,” White said.

Others in the group appreciated the faith-based approach to leadership training that Nollau offers.

The students designed the last of the four retreats. For a self-organization exercise, the faculty had given the students time during the third retreat to discuss what they wanted to do in the final retreat. After only an hour, the class had presented the faculty with a detailed outline for their final opportunity to be together. The class wanted the theme to be”faces of leadership.” The faculty put together a panel of three St. Louis-area Diakonal ministers so that the group could learn from leaders in the field how to put knowledge into practice.

The class also wanted to take advantage of being in St. Louis and visited two CHHSM ministries. One was Cape Albeon, a senior living center whose CEO, Carol DiSanza, was a 2013 Nollau participant. Cape Albeon also hosted the panel discussion. In addition, the class visited Caroline Mission, a part of Neighborhood Houses, whose vice president of programs, David Carroll, was also a Nollau participant. After a tour, the class joined in a Christmas celebration with the children Caroline Mission serves. A few members of the class also purchased more than 70 gifts for the children.

Class members were so impressed by their experience with the Nollau Institute that they wanted to help others be able to learn there. The class committed to raising the $1,250 tuition and travel expenses for a CHHSM organization member to join the 2014 class. The class exceeded their goal, raising $2,266. There is no better testament to their high opinion of Nollau than that.

The 2013 class concluded its year with a trip to Louis Edward Nollau’s grave to pay their respects, and a final consecration service at St. John’s United Church of Christ. The class was proudly and humbly consecrated as the newest Diakonal ministers of CHHSM.

The 2014 Nollau Leadership Institute will begin on Jan. 28 in Claremont, Calif.