Congregational and Family Systems Academy Certificate Program

Congregational and Family Systems Academy Certificate Program

This program enriches the skills of pastors, priests, rabbis, cantors, imams, and other clergy who provide spiritual guidance and support within congregations and other faith-based communities.

Accepting Applications for 2023-2024

CFR is accepting applications on a rolling admissions basis.

Clergy participants in this program are lifelong learners, community leaders, and healers.

This program is for clergy interested in learning Family Systems Theory with direct application to their functioning in ministry. This is a 2-year Advanced Training Program. The curriculum of the Academy will include two required Systemic Foundations classes with the option of taking additional systemic foundation classes.

Academic Training

Classes meet on Monday mornings with two, 10-week required Systems Theory courses in the first and third quarter, along with 2 hours of the year-long Clergy Seminar in the afternoon. Two additional 10-week classes taught in the second and fourth quarters are optional, but strongly recommended. The Seminar format provides a process of bringing theory, theology, and practice into sharper alignment, which requires an ongoing commitment over time. The Seminar format offers clergy an opportunity to share experiences and reflect on their own functioning within the congregation’s emotional system. Didactic materials will incorporate all the models presented in the two, 10-week Monday morning Post Graduate classes and readings and clergy will discuss the integration of those models into their pastoral and congregational ministry and the functioning of the clergy person as the leader.

Clergy cohorts will engage with peers and distinguished faculty to:

  • Work on self-regulation
  • Understand specific patterns of family and relationship interactions as described by Family Systems Theory
  • Observe relationship systems
  • Learn to apply Systems Theory to one’s self and to one’s family of origin
  • Acquire a conceptual systemic framework for understanding human functioning
  • Understand Application and Integration of Theology with Theory
  • Acquire confidence in managing self in the midst of reactivity and sabotage, stuck or stirred up congregations, triangles, conflicted relationships, static organizations, shrinking attendance and budgets, seduction for the “quick fix,” and family disruptions

Program Details

Level: Post-Graduate

Admission Requirements: MS, MDIV, D.Min

Courses Required: two ten-week courses

Instructional Delivery: Online

Supervision: Group

Calendar Type: Quarter

Enrollment: Part-time

Time Frame: Completion in 2 years

Time Commitment: 1 day per week

The Congregational and Family Systems Academy Certificate Program fosters leadership principles that promote a broader repertoire for responding to the challenges in ministry and organizational settings.

Explore the program:

Congregational and Family Systems Academy Certificate Program Application

Congregational & Family Systems Academy Certificate Program Tuition & Tuition Grant

Clergy Seminar

The Seminar will provide a peer-learning and peer-mentoring experience where participants share life and ministry experiences. The Seminar will examine the various Systemic Models, comparing and contrasting them with Bowen Theory along with Edwin Freidman’s application of Bowen Theory to the leadership and the person of the clergy. Along with didactic review of the models, participants will also regularly present one’s own Family of Origin work (F/O) along with Ministry Case Consultations. The theory, coaching, and peer-coaching experience of the seminar fosters re-examination of roles, functioning, and relationships through differentiation.

Graduates of The Congregational and Family Systems Academy Certificate Program may opt to continue with the Monday Morning Seminar to continue working on self and understanding the context and conditions of your organizational system.

Dolores Littleton, DMin, LMFT

Director, Post Graduate Certificate Program, Clergy Track

Request more information

For more information, contact the Director of the Post Graduate Certificate Program, Clergy Track Rev. Dr. Dolores Littleton at