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St. Benedict's Episcopal Church<br>†
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The Rev. Tom Conley Keynotes at the Fall Parish Meeting on October 24th

10/8/2009

Plans are being finalized for the Fall Parish Meeting and Party being held on October 24, 2009.  Click here for more info...

***Please RSVP to Chris Wiley if you are attending.***

The planning committee is happy to announce that The Rev. Tom Conley will be giving the keynote speech at the event.

A native of Florida and a long-time resident of Columbia, South Carolina, The Rev. Canon Thomas H. Conley is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, SC (BA, English, history, philosophy) where he was on scholarship as bass soloist for the Furman Singers and on the Deanís list. He spent 5 years at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and was awarded the academic Th.M. He was trained there with the renowned Dr. Wayne E. Oates in Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Psychotherapy. He completed his Clinical Pastoral Education and his supervisory training with Oates. He was a Baptist minister for 30 years before changing denominations in 1991. He served 15 years (1976-1991) as the Senior Minister of the Northside Drive Baptist Church in Atlanta, where he and his staff created a liturgical approach to worship unique to the Baptist tradition.  

      In 1991 he resigned that pulpit and moved to the Episcopal Church. After becoming Episcopalian, and during the process toward priesthood, he maintained a private psychotherapy practice for two years before being asked by Bishop Frank Allan to serve as Executive Director of Transition House, Inc., a ministry to homeless, addicted, recovering men. These several houses in Metro Atlanta assist homeless men -and more recently - women, in their quest for stable and productive lives. He also served as the Vicar at The Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in Cobb County, (1996-1999) before being called to the Episcopal Cathedral as Canon Pastor in July of 1999.

      As Canon Pastor, Tom was responsible for the Pastoral Care Department and its several staff. There were over 30 different ministries that fell under his supervision, and the office utilized scores of volunteers. While there he maintained a counseling and spiritual direction ministry.  

      He has led in founding and establishing The Florence McDonnell Counseling and Spiritual Life Center, an independent, 501(c) (3), non-profit Center. He is now retired from the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip and is Executive Director and Pastoral Theologian-in-Residence at The Florence McDonnell Center. The Center is located at 2215 Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta. 

      One of Tomís most recent fields of interest is the psychodynamics of change, how it happens both in the human personality and in society, and the responses, resistances and reactions we as human beings have to that change. How spirituality relates to those changes and serves to empower us is also of interest to Tom.  

      Besides his clinical practice and the duties he has at the Center, Tom has an interest in the relationships between different religious systems and beliefs, and how people of belief and faith can find mutual ground for dialogue and cooperation. He is also a spiritual director and is a member of the recently Atlanta-formed ďSociety for the Integration of Spirituality and Psychotherapy.Ē 

  Conley was also one of the founders of a retreat Center, Sabbath House, located on a mountain top near Bryson City, NC. He has just completed his 10th year of service as the President of the Board of that organization, and is now president emeritus. The Sabbath House is retreat center for clergy and other staff members who need a respite from the rigors and trials of church work. He has served as a Trustee of Mercer University and a member of the Mercer University Press Board. 

      Tom has been married to Betty for 50 years this year (2009), and she has been a fifth grade teacher at Sarah Smith School in Buckhead for 28 years. They have two grown sons, Scott and Sean, four grandchildren, Justin, 21, Ansley, 11, Candice, 5, and Sean Alan, 30 months. Tomís hobbies in his life have included motorcycle riding, and, when he wore a younger manís clothes, bare-foot water skiing, racquetball, karate, tennis and golf. Poetry composition, gardening, and meditation are also current interests. He is a published author of four books, Sermons in Dialogue, (Word), Pastoral Care for Personal Growth (Judson), Worship and the Diaconic Task (Printed by the Baptist Home Mission Board and serialized in Missions USA Magazine). He also has a book of poetry, The Common Cup, published by Trafford Press (2005). He is currently working on two new books, one a book of sermons and the other entitled, You Made me Mad, You Hurt my Feelings, You Offended me: Embracing These Reactions and Choosing Our Responses. Lessons from Viktor Frankl.  

      He has spoken and lectured widely in his ministry, delivering the prestigious Theodore F. Adams lectures at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the mid-1980ís. He has been a member of Buckhead Rotary Club, was awarded the Outstanding New Member in 1982-83, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Tom has more recently served as a priest assistant at Holy Innocentsí Episcopal Church where he taught classes and was the presenter/lecturer in the 24 week DOCC program.

 


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