The next Called and Gifted Workshop in the diocese is:
August 18-19: St. Gerard Parish, Lansing. Friday evening begins with dinner at 5:00 pm.
Registration at http://www.stjudedewitt.com/adult-formation
Future Called and Gifted workshop dates include:
November 10-11, 2017: St. Patrick Parish, Brighton. Friday evening begins at 7:00 pm. Saturday runs until 4:00 pm
March 16-17: St. Joseph Parish, Dexter. Friday evening begins at 7:00 pm. Saturday runs until 4:00 pm
April 20-21: St. Mary’s, Flint. Friday evening begins at 7:00 pm. Saturday runs until 4:00 pm
1 Peter 4:10 reads, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” For Meghan Fiebelkorn, this verse is personal. It speaks directly to her. Because of her participation in a Called and Gifted workshop in early 2016, Meghan now has a new position at the parish where she works, and also leads Called and Gifted workshops for the diocese.
Meghan says, “The work I do now is so energizing and brings me personal peace and joy. I feel more in tune to the movements of the Holy Spirit and transformed with understanding how I personally experience God’s love.”
Learning to identify personal spiritual gifts (also known as charisms), and how to use them in God’s service, is the goal of Called and Gifted, created by Sherry Weddell and Father Michael Sweeney of the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs. A few years ago, the Diocese of Lansing Office of Evangelization began to offer the program. This past year, the diocese has hosted several regional workshops in various locations. Now a presenter at the workshops, Meghan says, “The overwhelming majority of people find this a new experience in identifying how God has been empowering them throughout their life with specific tools and gifts.”
The Called and Gifted workshop, which runs about 10 hours over two days, is the beginning of a discernment process. During this workshop, a personal inventory is administered and 24 charisms are explored. The second step is a one-hour gifts interview that helps you look at patterns in your life that may indicate the presence of a charism, and offers the opportunity to recognize how God has been encouraging you all along. The final step in the discernment process is sharing your journey with others in small discipleship groups within the parish.
When Meghan and her co-workers participated in the workshop in 2016, she says: “I was very excited to attend and found it provided a framework to certain things I had already been noticing and feeling. It gave me permission to confidently voice there are certain areas where I feel especially used by God. On the flip side, identifying areas I am not gifted in was also very freeing. The discernment process, where I could ask the Lord what charisms I have, was fascinating and life-changing. I learned to trust [that] I am to evangelize in a very particular way.”
The discernment process for Meghan – her gifts interview, prayer, spiritual direction and feedback from others – resulted in a shift in her ministerial role. Before the workshop, Meghan was the office manager at her parish. After the workshop, Father Bill Ashbaugh encouraged her to pursue where her charisms directed her. Now Meghan’s responsibilities include Marriage Prep and leadership in the Called and Gifted Program, both at her parish and for the diocese.
She says: “We are all designed to complement each other, build each other up, affirm each other; it’s so empowering to understand God has uniquely created us to achieve that purpose. Though it is called a workshop, it really feels more like a retreat because it’s an encounter with a whole new paradigm of the Lord.
“I have a lot more gratitude for how God is working in my life. Called and Gifted has shown me there is freedom in the awareness and understanding of why things fulfill or aggravate me. It’s given me permission to not feel guilty when something frustrates me; there is nothing wrong with not liking everything.”
And it isn’t just Meghan’s ministerial life that has benefited from the conscious recognition of specific charisms. Meghan’s husband also participated in a workshop. She is quick to relay how this process has been transformative to their marriage and other relationships as well: “It can’t help but permeate every aspect of life. I encourage people to realize it doesn’t necessarily translate into something immediately, but will reveal itself over a lifetime.”
The powerful second part of the workshop, the gifts interview, helps people do just that: identify God’s active participation in their past, present and future. Meghan says, “I feel so blessed and privileged to hear the marvelous ways God interacts in lives. I hear extraordinary stories where people assume similar things happen to everyone. I share with them this is how the Holy Spirit is distinctly interacting in their life, and it truly doesn’t happen to everybody. To see that comprehension come alive in them is incredible. A number have commented, ‘Wow! The particulars of my life are all starting to make so much sense.’”
Meghan continues: “We need to be better at affirming each other’s giftedness and uniqueness, an area we are not normally comfortable with. One amazing part of the discernment process is doing just that.”
How would Meghan describe this to someone who has never participated in a workshop? She says, “Called and Gifted is not just information or theology. It’s a discovery of how the Lord has blessed you with particular charisms, how the Lord loves you, and wants to draw you into a closer relationship. Participants walk away with a sense of direction. It is a key moment in their relationship with the Lord to know God has entrusted them with specific skills to build the kingdom. How beautiful is that!”