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FLA Class of ’25 Begins

On April 15th, a new cadre of students arrived at the Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA, as Session One of the Financial Leadership Academy, Class of ’25 was opened with a speech from Jack Brooks, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation.

Over the next 18 months, 90 FLA scholars, representing churches from four annual conferences, as well as congregations in the AME church, will be learning about all aspects of finances in the church.

Invoking the Wizard of Oz in his opening speech, Brooks asked the scholars to join him on their own yellow brick road to the Emerald City of their faith imagination.  He introduced some of their traveling companions, from Foundation Board members and staff, to the keynote speakers and the coaches who will be working with them throughout the class.

Brooks assured the scholars that, like the scarecrow, the tinman and the lion in the movie, they will all find they already have a brain, a heart, and the courage to help them along the FLA path, and bring forward in each of them the abilities they already have for this great journey.

Brooks challenged the scholars to be open to change, to leading with new skills, to personal reflection, to opportunities to work with others on the journey, and finally to be open to commitment to a new life of financial leadership for their congregations.

The scholars spent two and a half days learning about personal finances and reflecting on their own relationship with money, with the understanding that having a firm grasp of one’s own financial situation is the first step in leading others through financial matters. In addition, they were encouraged to reflect on how the culture of their church impacts its financial health.  They were given tools to bring back to their congregations so that they can share what they have learned with their leadership teams.

The scholars will continue to work with their coaches in the coming months, before reconvening in Lancaster in September for Session Two, which will focus on developing best stewardship practices to encourage a culture of generosity in their congregations.

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