Tending The Fire


Human systems are complicated, and churches are no exception. At their best, they draw out excellence in their people. At their worst, they become stuck - undermining and sabotaging even the most well-designed plans for change. Tending the Fire helps clergy “think systems” in their congregations and their personal lives, so they can lead change that lasts.

Watch the video about Tending the Fire!

Director / Retreat Leader

Barb LemmellRev. Barbara Lemmel is an ordained elder in the New England Conference of the UMC. She has served congregations in Vermont and upstate New York, facilitated conference re-structuring, and offers programming and spiritual guidance to churches and pastors.

Barbara studied Family Systems Theory with the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center in Chicago and the Center for Pastoral Effectiveness in New Orleans. She has led Tending the Fire retreats for clergy, laity and judicatory leadership since 2003. Barbara also offers one-on-one leadership coaching and coordinates the Parish Consultants of the New England Conference UMC.

For more information, visit www.tending-the-fire.com or email barblemmel@mac.com.

The program helps clergy:

  • Understand anxiety's effects on churches and individuals
  • Be a healthy, non-anxious leader
  • Manage complicated emotional relationships
  • Avoid overwork and "underwork"
  • Recognize and handle sabotage
  • Discover the “next right steps” for their churches and themselves.

"Tending the Fire" is a three part program as noted below:
Participants must attend all three sessions.

2017-2018 Schedule

Session 1 - Opening Intensive:  November 1-3, 2017  (Irons Homestead - Glocester, RI )

Session 2 - Deepening Retreat: January 9-11, 2018 (Edwards House - MACUCC,  Framingham, MA)

Session 3  -Sending Retreat: February 27-March 1, 2018 (Silver Lake Conference Center- Sharonn CT)

To register, please click here:  Tending the Fire

Cost per person for the three part retreat is $600.00.  Lodging is additional at each location.

A deposit of $125.00 is required at the time of registration which can be paid online or mailed. 

Payment in full is due before the final session and checks may be mailed to Cindy Bolton, payable to MACUCC, 1 Badger Road, Framingham, MA  01702


CollaborationThis year's Tending the Fire is a collaborative effort of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences of the United Church of Christ. Learn more.