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Multifaith intensive helps clergy reach online congregations

Thursday, March 17, 2016  
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Beyond Walls July 10-16 conference links clergy and industry experts In interactive writing workshop

Clergy of all denominations understand the power of the written word and the value of communicating across generations, with believers and non-believers, online and beyond congregational walls.

“Beyond Walls: Spiritual Writing at Kenyon” is a vital and intensive writing program for clergy, lay leaders and spiritual directors now in its second year at the Kenyon Institute at Kenyon College. The week-long, residential program features a dynamic faculty and speakers from across the spiritual and writing spectrums. Clergy from 23 states and four nations attended the inaugural conference in 2015.

The 2016 program – July 10-16 – is intended to establish expertise in multiple writing forms and inspire confidence in clergy to communicate their faith traditions in compelling fashion. Morning seminars, afternoon solo writing sessions and evening master classes and writing groups elevate the skills of participants in the personal essay, the blog, the op-ed, social media platforms and historical forms.

“Ministers have the privilege of walking with people in their most vulnerable moments of life,” said 2015 program participant the Rev. Teri M. Ott, a Presbyterian minister and chaplain at Monmouth College. An essay she started during the Beyond Walls program was later published by the Christian Century. “If we can share our experiences with a broader audience, in language that is authentic, I think it will bring great good to the world,” Ott said.

Instructors and speakers lined up for the 2016 program include Jonathan Merritt, contributing writer for the Atlantic and senior columnist for Religion News Service; Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr, blogger and editor of the newsletter of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Amy Frykholm, editor for the Christian Century; freelance writer and author; novelist and poet Amy Gottlieb, the former publications director for the Rabbinical Assembly; Muslim-American writer and commentator Zeba Khan, former director of fellowships for The Op-Ed Project whose commentary has been published in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and other national news outlets; and Rev. Tom Ehrich, Episcopal priest, author, president of Morning Walk Media and publisher of Fresh Day magazine, among others.

Program participants create new work every day and develop fluency in multiple writing forms. They share their writing in small, faculty-led groups and receive constructive advice. And they develop and tune up their social media skills.

And this is all accomplished on the Kenyon campus, a tranquil and nourishing environment widely considered to be among the country’s most beautiful college campuses, and in the charming village of Gambier.

“The Beyond Walls program has quickly become a fulfilling and profitable experience for clergy and lay leaders who recognize that their audiences can often best be reached online and through the written word,” said Sarah Kahrl, director of the Kenyon Institute.  “We find it gratifying that people of all faiths and spiritual traditions can come together and learn together and write together.”

Registration is open now at, and financial aid is available. To learn more about Beyond Walls and other Kenyon Institute programs, visit or call 740-427-5250.

Kenyon is located in Gambier, Ohio, about an hour northeast of Columbus. Kenyon is a distinguished liberal arts institution of about 1,700 students from around the country and the world. Alumni of note include actor/philanthropist Paul Newman, the young-adult novelist John Green, Emmy-winning actress Allison Janney, Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Matthew Winkler, and University of Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart among many others.  To learn more about Kenyon, visit



Sarah Kahrl
(740) 427-5250

Jill Shriver
(740) 427-5250


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