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School Testimonials




  2017 School for Pastors' Testimonials   


I appreciated that Dr. Case-Winters was presenting the Bible and science as intertwined. She did an amazing job.

The lectures and discussion [by Dr. Case-Winters] covered some new territory for me, the exploration of space and the depths of the oceans were enlightening and fun. The connections of miracles and resurrection with science raised more questions and reaffirmed my belief in humans as creatures of the Creator. The expanse and depth of God leaves me in awe.

Sam [Hamiltom-Poore’s] style is warm and inviting. His materials are very helpful.

Appreciated the significant amount of time spent by Dr. Hamilton-Poore to actually practicing the exercises he was teaching.

Dr. Hansen is understandable, relevant and easy to listen to. I hope we can have him back for either Summer or Winter Pastor's School!

Worship [with Dr. McFee] was a multidimensional, moving, sensory, expressive, meaningful, time of spiritual joy.

Dr McFee's leadership was a highlight of the week. She was inspiring and helpful. Her energy and dreams were contagious. Her skill and practice of worship challenged me to try and do more with my creativity and imagination.

Dr. Jay [Ayers] was a tremendous story teller. "Once upon a time..." Exceptional human, gifted pastor. I watched and wanted to be just like him.

Loved the combination of playfulness, theology and biblical historical reference [by Dr. Jay Ayers.] The thoughtful pauses are something I rush through in preaching so was a great reminder to let the listener process and not just overload them with information.

I have always appreciated being at Hastings and this time was no different. Everyone is SO helpful and willing to do whatever is needed to make our experience the best it can be. It is just like a family reunion and everyone is always so happy to see everyone else, from the staff to the participants. Robin and Eric want everything to be special and it is and the staff at OPSF is super as well.

As always, both the OPSF staff and the College staff make this a wonderful event.
I was very impressed with the event setting and staff. Everyone was great!

So, this was by far one of the very best events I have ever attended. I so much needed every word, every thought, every prayer. Thank you.

The faculty for this event was superb-not only in presentation and content, but their passion for their work, which became ours.


2016 School for Pastors' Testimonials 

What are two significant things you learned this week or liked best?


·    The forgiveness sessions – a lot to think about – very authentic and relational! The banquet was very organized. Great program! 

·    Conversations with other pastors. Dr. Tom Long’s example at preaching. The importance of forgiveness. 

·    This is my first pastoral conference. The most significant thing I learned was how I much I needed this time of respite. I found the classes I attended helped rekindle my fire for ministry, lighting new sparks to take back to the church I serve. 

·    I feel my preaching will be improved. I have a lot to share with Deacons, Session & CE concerning the content of Dr. Ramsey’s class. 

·    To be is to be with – in many ways, at many levels. Forgiveness is the hardest thing to do! 

·    Classes were helpful, informative, pace was good. Spending time with other pastors from different areas was helpful. 

·    Really enjoyed Tom Long’s preaching – evocative, entertaining, enlightening, excellent, engaging, and challenging. Gary did a masterful job teaching us about forgiveness – wonderful interplay with other presenters/faculty as we explored Christian forgiveness and relationship to secular/cultural forgiveness and relationship to faith and God/Christ.

·    Jay Ayers is an excellent instructor because he is so knowledgeable but presents material in clear ways with a sharp wit and humor as a bonus!

·    The food was amazing! I loved the small numbers & structure of time which lent to a lot of community building. 

·    New ways of preaching. Renewed interest & learning in Matthew. 

·    Tom’s preaching. Ruth’s organ work. Jay’s Easter eggs in Matthew’s Gospel. 

·    Exegesis is crucial to biblical understanding & preaching. 

·    We can age gracefully – but life is finite (and good). 

·    That I must prepare and practice the art of more compassionate care for my congregation. That I cannot do everything and that I must seek out and teach others to step and be “church”. 

·    Encouragement to keep up the wrestling from Tom Long. Several great conversations about family with other participants. 

·    Topic of forgiveness in depths I hadn’t touched. Dr. Long’s Q&A was fantastic. Thank you for a wonderful week! 

·    A deeper look at forgiveness. Dr. Long’s use of Scripture with humor and stories. 

·    Inspired and reminded by the nature of parables. Surprising, uncomfortable and full of Easter eggs. 

·    When we are in our own communities we get comfortable with the status quo. I’m excited that God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit are indeed alive and well in the Presbyterian Church! It is great to get away to soak in His presence. 

·    Dr. Ayers – Matthew has amazing things! Dr. Eller – forgiveness can be hard! 

·    The edginess of parables. Background on Matthew. Guest preaching. Love the sense of community. Great fellowship & conversations. The melodrama was a hoot. The Broadway show was fun. 

·    Pastoral approach to aging. Radical forgiveness. Matthew – new approaches. 

·    The opportunity to meet & talk with other pastors & leaders. I am bringing home renewed energy & practical ideas – especially in regards to caring for various ages in the congregation. Thank you! This was my first time and I found it to be exceptional! It was so refreshing to be here. Right now in our presbytery (and it sounds like in many) we are struggling. Churches have left the denomination and things are hard & look bleak. Coming here brought encouragement. The experience brought hope & renewed strength. 

·    Always the morning worship – excellent! Singing outstanding! That Gary jumped in and did “forgiveness” materials. That Dr. Long was with us – outstanding! 

·    Admiration & praise for Dr. Thomas Long’s sermons. The importance of forgiveness to be taught, experienced and preached. 

·    Best so far and I have been here I think 4 years. The material surrounding forgiveness. “The deed must be separated from the doer.” The material surrounding ministering to older adults’ pastoral care. I have only done the work of a pastor for a few years but in that time I did a bucket of pastoral care. 

·    Tom Long was super – always a learning experience. Gary was excellent with no prep time. Dr. Ramsay had very good thought provoking sessions. 

·    Foundation and impacts of forgiveness for my ministry. Wisdom to enjoy grace and blessings of aging. 

·    The various ways Christians view forgiveness. Matthew 18. 

·    I found a different perspective on my church’s situation, which was a huge answer to prayer and what I needed most at this time. All thanks to God and my colleagues here! I earned a deeper view of forgiveness, which I know will be helpful in doing my ministry and in my personal life. 

  ·   Dr. Ayers was excellent, challenging, provocative. Something I’m looking forward to following up

·    Appreciated Jay’s in depth on certain difficult Matthew passages. 

·    Deeper interaction with the challenges of forgiveness. The phrase “graceful improvisation”. Also that Tom wrote a book about it. 

·    All of the resources available for those who are aging. The many aspects of spiritual & theological depth of forgiveness and resources. 

·    The sermons by Tom Long & session on forgiveness gave me the most information I will be able to apply. 

·    Loved having Tom preach. Loved connecting with other pastors. 


2015 School for Pastors' Testimonials     


"The significance of the Communion of Saints as the communion of those wo are part of the process of mourning/lament and at the same time joyous proclamation of He is Alive! He is Risen!"




"The need to preach 'hope' regularly.  How God is working through individuals.  Loved the sense of community.  The presence of grief and mourning."


"Preaching is not dead or obsolete in today's world.  Hope for ministering to the young. As pastors we are struggling with the similar issues."






"Jerry Cannon's contagious passion for preaching. Fellowship around the tables and discussion groups.  Renewal, rest, revival.  Loved the college music presentation."




"That we are called to preach the gospel through the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Size doesn't matter...My little church needs the best I can give them with the help of Almighty God."





  "We learn how to move into our future by looking at our past in our Creeds and history."






"Fellowship of happy and hurting hearts.  Inspired preaching, style of delivery, alliteration ..."


"Rethink congregation - does it require a church building?  Interplay - body, mind, Spirit gather around the Word and confession."




"Bereavement is not only death.  I have a fresh look at divorce and loss of membership through a new perspective." 






"The Gospel is still something to rave and shout about!" 


"Great sense of humor to make study of the Creeds and church history come alive! ... relevant, to guide us into the church's future."










2014 School for Pastors' Testimonials 


"I'm excited to plan Advent using John bookended by two creation stories as part of a year long stewardship focus and saving seeds to give each other during Rogation worship celebration in the spring." 



"I loved the format of all the speakers.  The were interesting, informative, allowed time for discussion and didn't resort to gimmicks." 


"The sermons in worship were jewel-like - shining light on many things." 







"The themes lifted up before us by each speaker blended well - the work of the Holy Spirit was in good planning.  A message of living into the hope we have in Christ is what I deeply appreciated among many other good points."

Rev. Bob Dahlgren,
Albany, Missouri



 "This was the best ever for informal conversation at meals, etc.  I very much appreciated the extra Sabbath time on Monday and Tuesday afternoon."



"Everything was excellent and much more than I expected in every way!"








"Thank you! Excellent!  Your reputation for excellence continues!"

Rev. Greg Smith,
Johnston, Iowa 


"When a speaker speaks, it is vital to use concrete, tangible language:  'words to hang your hat on.' So I want to talk about the 'tables' at Pastors' School.  First, there is the large, cosmic table at which we take a moment, sit down, relax, and get some perspective.  Second, there is the table at which we eat food! and eat food! and eat food! As I previouisly stated, the School ministers to the entire minister.  Third, there is the table at which we fellowship.  The School has become 'church' for me as I return ot this place of pilgrimage again and again."
Rev. Leslie Traylor
Clarinda, Iowa



"What a great place for retreat and renewal and education.  A very pastoral setting." 

Rev. Dr. S. Glenn Wilson
Burt, Iowa















"My deepest gratitude and thanks for allowing me to  come!"

Rev. Dr. Carolyn Weber,
Ethiopia, Africa



"As for the food being adequate - that wouild be bread and beans.  This was always a feast!  Kudos!"







2013 School for Pastors' Testimonials   

“How can we thank you enough for the generosity of this week of renewal; ... the freedom to attend the classes we could and spend time in prayer and meditation has saved my ministry.” – The Rev. Skip Mulock, Waterloo, Iowa


“Thank you again so very much for your gracious invitation to present at your 2013 School for Pastors.  The seminary Foundation is doing good and important work, and I am grateful that you are leading it.  The participants seem grateful and supportive too, which is good.” – The Rev. Dr. James C. Goodloe IV, Faculty Presenter, Richmond, VA











“What a joy it was to participate in the Pastor's School.  Thank you so much for your leadership and for including us in this great ministry." –
The Rev. Dr. Philip D. Jamieson



“What a great year!  Many of us thought it was one of the best.  Thank you!.” – Larry DeRoin, Omaha, NE








2012 School for Pastors' Testimonials 

“This is the one and only week in the year when I can relax and learn and refresh myself.  I totally leave everything at home.  I meet wonderful people from other presbyteries.  Without this School, I’d be lost.” – Ms. Sandy Bach, CRE, Cleveland, Oklahoma  


“It is the best educational event of its kind available.  I always take with me from Hastings useful material which assists me with my ministry throughout the year.  I look forward to attending this event.” – The Rev. Bob Dahlgren, King City, Missouri 


“This school is a wonderful opportunity to stimulate the mind, rest the body, and inspire the heart, without deflating the pocketbook.”  – The Rev. Roy Fox, Omaha, Nebraska 








“There is such a great blend of thinkers, from conservative to liberal, which in turn makes me get out of my comfort zone. Also, I truly appreciate the opportunity of being preached to rather than me always doing the preaching. It is also a great time of renewing friendships and making new ones.” – The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Jarvis, Vandalia, Missouri


As a new pastor, I want to take every opportunity to learn so I can be the best pastor I can be. I’ve been given this awesome calling and my congregation deserves the best I can be.” – Ms. Katie Larson, CRE, Virginia, Minnesota 


“I want to nurture faith development in my congregation, learn how to use social media in effective ways and bridge the gap between faith and culture.” – The Rev. Dr. Aimee Goldmeyer, New London, Iowa 










“I appreciate the opportunity to attend the School because it is one of the most fulfilling things that I can do in any year for continuing education as well as for personal growth. I am able to take what each presenter offers back to the congregation I serve which enriches our ministry together. I also enjoy the camaraderie with the other attendees, which is really special. – Ms. Diane Martin, CRE, Ackley, Iowa.


“It’s a wonderful part of my year – a great battery charge to my current ministry.  Dr. Kendall’s lectures that are reflecting on faith and everyday life sounds exciting.  Dr. Ayers lectures on salvation, connected with various Biblical characters sounds intriguing.  I hope I’ll hear all of the above.” – The Rev. Wynn Ward, Saint Peters, Missouri. 


“This event is a highlight of my year.  Since I am currently without a call, the opportunity to be involved with colleagues and theological study is very important to me.  Also without continuing education money, the cost makes this doable for me.” – The Rev. Al Zimmerman, Iowa City, Iowa 










 2018 Events

 Winter Pastors' School

Feb 5-8, 2018

Hastings Chapel