Frequently Asked Questions by s

How would having the Living Compass ministry benefit my church?

Living Compass can impact your parish in many positive ways. It helps parishes broaden their understanding of wellness. It also helps people connect their all around wellness to their faith and begin to think about themselves as the intentional caregivers of the life they have been given by God. The conversations that occur in both the Living Compass adult education sessions, and even more so in the small groups, strengthens already existing relationships, builds a more close-knit community, and provides a great opportunity to reach out to those who may not have a meaningful church connection. Seeing as this ministry is usually led by lay people, Living Compass presents a new creative opportunity for lay people to play a vital part in the wellness ministries that happen in their community.

What is the Living Well with Living Compass app and how can my church members use it?

This new app is a fun way for church members of all ages to work on their wellness and stay connected all week long. Members can download the app for FREE onto their mobile devices and can then use it to cheer each other on as they strive to live an "abundant life" by making new choices and adding new good habits. What is really fun is that folks of all ages in the parish can work together through the use of this app to create the lives God desires for them.

What is the teen program like and how could it be used?

This curriculum is based on the belief that teens are at a very crucial time in their lives and are making extremely important decisions. The church is in a unique position to support them and guide them as they begin to make more and more of these decisions on their own. It is also important that the Church be aware of the world these young people live in and meet them there so that they see the Church as a source of strength and guidance for the days ahead. Living Compass is an attempt to be a bridge that connects the world of modern young people and the faith of the Church.

Living Well With Living Compass is a school year curriculum that will help teens:

  • Strengthen their relationships with God, family, and friends.
  • Make healthy choices caring for their body, mind, heart and soul.
  • See the Church as a resource for them when they are in need of help.
  • Reflect on whether they are comfortable with the decisions they are making in their lives.
  • Prepare for and better handle the many transitions that occur at this "coming of age" period of life.
  • Reduce and better manage the particular stresses that face them.
  • Have authentic conversations with others about what is going on in their daily life.

This curriculum is lead by adults who with the students go through each of the eight areas of wellness, in eight three-week units. Participants look at their own wellness in each area, learn about what the Bible teaches us about each area, and commit to be more conscious of the decisions they make in their daily lives. All of this is grounded in the belief that our lives are gifts from God and the way we live them is our gift back to God. When our Faith is the compass we live by, we will have a better chance of having the abundant life God desires for us all. Creating an abundant life takes commitment and intentionality on our part, and there is no better time to start than when one is young.

What training is needed to lead the Living Compass program?

No training is required as the facilitator manuals are created to be thorough enough that someone can lead the class without further training.

With this said, many dioceses have invited some of the Living Compass staff to their area for training or speaker opportunities. Congregations wanting to start a Living Compass ministry meet and experience a Living Compass half day retreat followed by an introduction to all the materials and an in-depth explanation as to when and how a congregation may want to use them. Contact Edith Braeger at or 414-964-4357 extension 0 to talk with the staff about how Living Compass can be introduced to your area.

Who can become a Living Compass leader or facilitator?

Anyone who is comfortable running groups can be a facilitator. A Living Compass Facilitator will be involved in helping to support folks as they seek to create a life of greater wellness. Anyone who can offer compassionate listening with sincere and gentle encouragement can fulfill this role. Living Compass is designed to provide a space to decipher what changes God desires for folks and then creatively allowing time and space for them to discover how to make those changes. At the core, the Living Compass facilitator will help to create a space for participants to, with their faith as their guide, become the experts in creating their best life and to take concrete steps to make that a reality.

What is a Living Compass Speaker Event?

Living Compass Speaker Event is a great way for our staff members to introduce to the churches in your area the Living Compass ministry. Over the visit, groups wanting a speaker to focus on a particular subject and/or wanting to start a Living Compass ministry meet together and experience a Living Compass keynote speaker event or a mini-retreat. This is followed by a two hour introduction to the materials and an in-depth explanation as to when and how a parish may want to use them. The churches who host the weekend are asked only to reimburse Living Compass for travel expenses for staff and any materials used. We do not charge for the speaker, retreat or workshop. Contact us at to talk with the staff about how your area can have a Living Compass weekend.

Churches frequently send people to the retreat and workshop who are interested in wellness such as nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers, teachers, and clergy. Sometimes they send plumbers, business people, veterinarians, and people who are retired. All who are interested in this ministry are encouraged and welcome!

Contact the following Living Compass hosts to see what they say a Living Compass weekend has done for them.

Becky Williams in Louisiana

Karen McDonald in Michigan

Susan Wahlstrom in California

Deborah Woolsey in Ohio

Lois Tripp in New York

Brian Winters in New Mexico

What happens in a Diocese after a Living Compass visit?

Different things happen in different areas. Several places have formed a Living Compass small group with the people who attended the retreat and workshop. After being in a small group of their own, they then go back to their respective parishes and begin their own Living Compass ministries at their home parishes. Other places jump right in and start the small groups. One area is collaborating with their county with plans to use Living Compass with county residents who are struggling financially. One diocese has plans to use Living Compass for a deanery retreat. One area is using Living Compass materials at a youth event at their upcoming Bishop's Conference. Two other churches are offering Living Compass for the guests at their ministries for the homeless. Basically, this is a very flexible program that can be used creatively by the folks of a diocese to benefit the unique need in their area.

What is a Congregational Aggregate Summary and how might it help our parish?

A Congregational Aggregate Summary is a write up that church leaders can receive from Living Compass which can be used to better understand their own parish, its unique needs and concerns.

The summary is arrived at when as many parish members as possible take the Living Compass assessment, anonymously, within a designated period of time. The results identify trends such as 65% of the parish is dealing with financial stress or 50% of the group is dealing with relationships that are troubling them. After the results are tabulated they are sent to the church's leaders, giving them valuable information they can then use to plan future meaningful opportunities for their parish. This information will then enable them to plan appropriate and helpful offerings to better serve their unique set of individuals.

If you are interested in getting a Congregational Aggregate Summary for your parish, please contact Living Compass and we can work with you to plan this for your parish.

What is the Living Compass Weekly Words of Wellness?

Each week Living Compass sends via email a one-page reflection which connects current happenings in the world to wellness. It is written by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, Executive Director of Living Compass, who draws on his 30 years as an Episcopal priest and family therapist and his love of making faith and wellness come alive in the everyday happenings of today's world. Currently, this email reflection is received and enjoyed by thousands of people across the globe.

Click here to see samples of past copies and/or to sign up to receive this FREE offering.

How can the Living Compass Words of Wellness be used in our parish?

Many parishes send the email version of the Living Compass Words of Wellness out to their entire community, as a way of keeping everyone thinking about wellness throughout the week. Other parishes copy it and put it in their bulletins. Some parishes use them for adult education "food for thought" on Sunday mornings. Everyone gets a copy, and the group discusses how the thoughts of the week apply to them. They report it is an easy tool to get meaningful conversations started in their parish. One parish in Louisiana puts a copy in each of their bathroom stalls, referring to it as the Toilet Paper! They say "Stay tuned. Another tissue coming soon!" How might your parish use it? It is yours to play with as a tool to help your folks think weekly about how their faith and their wellness are intertwined.

These weekly messages are always timely and are FREE. You can sign up here on this website.

Click here for an example of a recent Living Compass Words of Wellness.

How is Living Compass being used by churches now?

Join our Living Compass Forum and find out

Trinity Episcopal Church, Wauwatosa, WI This church has had a Living Compass ministry for several years. They run lay led small groups on an ongoing basis, using Living Compass as a program for their Men's Group and using the Teen curriculum with the teens during their Sunday School time.

Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter Creek, CA In the fall they did the six-week small group program within the Christian Formation/Ed. Committee with the intent of training those leaders to be leaders of Living Compass in the future. These folks are leaders in the church and professionals in their secular lives. They are now leading groups themselves.

They are also using Living Compass in their revamped Sojourners-A Support Group for people experiencing challenging relationships. Group members will use the Living Compass with a focus on working on goals around the relationship part of the wellness wheel.

This same church has written a grant for a project entitled "Addressing Depression & Suicide Prevention In a Rural County through Faith Communities." Its vision is to provide prevention and early intervention for depression and potential suicide within their count through Faith Communities. It is their goal to provide the Living Compass wellness program for Trinity Church and provide the Living Compass resources for use in five to ten churches in Amador County, CA.

Several churches used both the Adult and Parenting Adult Education Classes as Lenten classes which were held on Wednesday evenings.

Let us know how you use this ministry, and we can share your success through this site. Your ideas might inspire others.

What kind of support will this ministry need in our parish?

Living Compass can be as expansive or as small as your parish sees fit for your people. Therefore, it is advised that your church create a Living Compass committee that will oversee this ministry parish wide. This committee would be responsible for deciding which programs and/or materials would be most beneficial to your parish, identifying niche groups who would enjoy Living Compass, planning dates for Living Compass offerings, recruiting facilitators, ordering materials and providing support to all who are using Living Compass within the parish. This ministry can be on going in a parish, and such a group will oversee and coordinate all of the details to create the leadership to keep it going.