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The Congregational Consulting Group, organized in 2014 by former consultants of the Alban Institute, is a network of independent consultants. We publish PERSPECTIVES for Congregational Leaders—thoughts on topics of interest to leaders of congregations and other purpose-driven organizations. —  Dan Hotchkiss, editor

Alice Mann

Alice Mann

Alice Mann is a leading consultant, educator, and author in the field of congregational development, whose work has focused on strategic planning, breaking through size plateaus, creating new pathways for small and struggling churches, and helping congregations to discern and care for the “soul” of their local community. Mostly retired from consulting and teaching, Alice is an active member of a small, engaged urban congregation and also offers leadership for faith-based community organizing in her region.  She occasionally accepts one-time conversations with former clients and other church leaders on issues close to her heart.     

Alice remains passionate about the relationship between congregations and their contexts. Congregations do not exist in isolation. They are embedded in communities and civic environments. When a congregation genuinely seeks to be a blessing to its community, it may find the courage to take risks, make changes, and live joyfully in the face of uncertainty.  Read more: “Ministering to the Soul of a Community.”

She continues to believe that small congregations can make powerful contributions to the life of their communities, but they need to be brave and flexible about the way they do it.  Read more: “The Smaller Congregation—Pathways in Challenging Times.”


  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA
  • M.Div., Philadelphia Divinity School, PA
  • M.A., English/Creative Writing, Temple University, Philadelphia PA


  • Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations, 2003, Alban
  • Raising the Roof: The Pastoral-to-Program Size Transition, 2001, Alban
  • What Size Should We Be? Visioning the In-Between Church, DVD, 2000, Alban
  • Can Our Church Live? Redeveloping Congregations in Decline, 1999, Alban
  • The In-Between Church: Navigating Size Transitions in Congregations, 1999, Alban
  • “Place Based Narratives” from Finding Our Story: Narrative Leadershp and Congregational Change, 2009, Alban


Testimonials for Alice Mann

“Way back in 2004 when you consulted with us on ‘Vital Congregations’ you said, ‘For a denomination your size, you may want to try an annual leadership training event.’ Well true to Moravian form, it took a while, but we just completed Leadership Focus 2007 in three places (due to geography) – Winston-Salem, Florida, and Raleigh. I am happy to report it did everything you told us it would and then some! “We leveraged staff, got people interacting, built some capacity, provided a threshold event, set a common learning agenda for the Province, had 75% participation from the churches, found out this served and empowered those smaller churches, etc. , etc. And the good news: Given the great reception, the planning team said, “Let’s do this every year until 2010!” — The Rev. David Guthrie, Executive Director, Board of Evangelism and Home Missions, Moravian Church in America, Southern Province

“The work Alice has done with us has helped us ease through a number of our blind spots, which were impacting our ability to change and grow.” — Consulting client

“Thanks so much, Alice. I know that I speak for all of us on the task force, to tell you that we truly appreciated your genereous support, experience, and guidance. You have been a good fit for us and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect mentor than you.” — Consulting client

“We were both enthralled with Alice Mann’s presentation on the life cycles of churches and her five traits of healthy churches. It wasn’t that we were previously unaware that all organizations and institutions have life cycles or that there are numerous lists available describing thriving congregations; there was something very special, credible, refreshing and stimulating about Alice Mann’s presentation. She was not only a gifted speaker, but as a priest and a consultant, she could draw upon her vast experience; her illustrations were convincing.” — Participant at a public speaking event 

“I’m sure you receive a lot of fan mail, because you are so good at doing what you do and being who you are. Today as I was trying to soak in all your sage offerings I wondered if you feel very often how God is calling you to this healing, hopeful work as you assist members of the body of Christ and improve, mend, and make whole their congregational life together. I do believe and feel that that this was the single most helpful day of continuing education that I have ever attended. Thank you again.” — Marya DeCarlen, Groveland, Maryland 

“Alice, I wanted to let you know how impressed I was with your group facilitation skills at the UPA’s town meeting. You have excellent leadership skills as well as great listening skills. It was clear just how much experience you have in this field. The feedback we have received from the congregation has been quite positive. We are quite grateful that you were able to help steer the strategic planning committee in an appropriate direction. It really helped to focus that morning toward needed changes.” — Kathy Read, United Parish of Auburndale UCC, Massachusetts

“You were the best thing that’s happened to this place in a long time> I was so happy to see a group of people working as one diligently and faithfully to solve intractable problems that have plagued us for a very long time….” —Sara Weiss, a staff member with the Council of Churches in New York City

Alice Mann