ACE: Academy of Clergy Excellence

ACE2: The Academy of Clergy Excellence

ACEis an alternative continuing education program for clergy serving in the North Georgia Annual Conference. ACE2 is based on a peer group learning model whereby clergy self-select and self-direct their continuing education objectives. ACE2 encourages clergy to bond, learn and dream together in order to refresh self, church and community. Each group designs and implements their own custom continuing education plan over a two year period. Plans include sharing best practices, gaining new tools and exploring adaptive adventures for making new disciples.  



Border Walls and Bridges: How do we prepare the table to be a place of welcome for everyone to have crucial conversations?  

Church Pirates: Where do you see the Holy Spirit outside of the institutionalized ideology of the church?

Conversations Along the Journey: How do we have civil conversations in a divided world?

Intentional Pilgrims: How do we recognize the value of what is old and seasoned in our spiritual lives while energizing enduring practices with new approaches?

Intellectually Curious, Socially Conscious and Holy: How do we embrace diversity and welcome the other in our midst?

Job's Friends: How do we share with other clergy the value of covenantal peer groups over the course of ministry?

Parts Unknown: How do we make the unknown known to our churches as we seek to discover and participate in what the church may look like in the next 25 years?

Purer Space: How do we create purer spaces in our lives together through authentic and trusting relationships?

Rest and Renewal: How can I pour myself out knowing that I will be refilled?

Serenity Sisters: How do we as female pastors integrate mind, body, spirit and environment for the purpose of personal renewal and deepen our relationship with God and others?

Theology of Play: How do we reclaim our identity as those who are created to play?

Walking Women of the World: How do we strengthen our mind, body and spirit, recognizing the spirituality of our physical selves and walking into the authentic individuals God created us to be?

Weavers of Worship: How can we grow spiritually and glorify God by using all of our senses through incorporating creative arts in worship?

Wholly Living: Am I currently living a life of wellness? Am I striving to become whole? How is my wellness or lack thereof affecting my vocation and community?

ACE2 Challenges Clergy

to Bond, Learn, and Dream

Border Walls and Bridges Study the Immigration Crisis Up Close and Personal

Why in the world would a mother leave her children, a man his family, a child her parents to travel a dangerous and uncertain journey to a place they have never been and where they know they are not always welcome?  READ MORE

Conversations Along the Journey Discover Innate Bias in All of Us

Exploring the topic of hidden bias has shown us that the essence of our human bias is entrenched in all of us in some form or fashion.  READ MORE

The Intellectually Curious Discover Past Atrocities Can Help Us Embrace Diversity Now

How could we become a multi-cultural/multi-ethnic microcosm of what we hope to see in the North Georgia Conference and The United Methodist Church?  We traveled to Germany in order to gain new perspective from a different culture.  READ MORE

Intentional Pilgrims Discover the Sacred in Americana and Themselves

More than destination, pilgrimage, as opposed to tourism, is a question of attitude and intent. An attitude of being open to significant meaning and an intent to experience deep connections along the way can transform an ordinary journey into a life-changing pilgrimage.  READ MORE

Job’s Friends Demonstrate the Value of Clergy Peer Groups Over the Course of Ministry

Job’s Friends share a 35+ year journey of not only ministry within the North Georgia Annual Conference, but for life shared with, lived into and leaned into together as friends, brothers and fellow children of God.  READ MORE

Parts Unknown Looks for New Ways to do Church

The day of the “franchise” church is coming to an end. We are a people in a world more and more at extremes and the middle is disintegrating. Particularity to culture, to people, to neighborhoods is important.  READ MORE

Purer Space Experiences God Moments in New Mexico

We call ourselves Purer Space. We have experienced stress, uncertainty and conflict that are part of ministry and life in general.  We long for something different. We have committed ourselves to journeying together for two years with the hope that God will do something new in us, among us, and around us.  READ MORE

Rest and Renewal Balance Community and Solitude for Recovery

We are a group of five introvert pastors who tend to keep frustrations bottled up inside.  Our experience as an ACE group drives us to be more open with one another.  Our study question is: “How can I pour myself out knowing I will be refilled?”  READ MORE

Serenity Sisters Care for Self at the Heart Level

As ministers we understand the importance of self-care at a “head level.”  We purposefully slowed our pace and became aware again of the beauty that lies within this gift of self-care at the “heart level”… perhaps even at a cellular level.  READ MORE

Walking Women: Their Boots are Made for Walking

The “Walking Women of the World” ACE group objective is to build lifelong friendships, strengthen our mind, body and spirit, recognizing the spirituality of our physical selves and walking into the authentic individuals God created us to be through sharing experiences, and practicing different spiritual disciplines.  READ MORE

ACE2 Launches Clergy Peer Groups

This summer ACE2 rallied more than 90 clergy in the North Georgia Annual Conference into 13 peer learning groups. When asked why this program generated such enthusiasm, participants said they were looking for: connection, lifelong learning, adventure, renewal, and a desire for God to do a new thing in me and my church.


Learning, Bonding, Dreaming: 2019-2020 ACECohort

"Bond, learn, and dream" was the mandate given to the participants of North Georgia’s Academy of Clergy Excellence, otherwise known as ACE2. ACE2 groups are embarking on their learning adventures near and far.


Important Current ACEGroup links


Submit Reimbursements

In order to be reimbursed in a timely manner, submit your receipts via JotForm by the deadline.
January 28
February 11, 25
March 11, 25
April 8, 22
May 6, 20
June 3, 17 

July 1, 15, 29
August 12, 26
September 9, 23
October 7, 21
November 4, 18
December 2, 16


Report Group Activity


Questions about ACE2

Please contact the Conference ACE2 Coordinator
Rev. Leigh Martin


Who's eligible to participate?

  • Any combination of the following: 
    • Full-time full connection elders
    • Full-time full connection deacons
    • Full-time local pastors who have completed Course of Study or seminary
    • Extension ministers in the above categories
    • Clergy enrolled in degree programs or currently in provisional status may not apply as these are also peer learning groups.  

What was the application process?

  • Identify a group of 6-8 North Georgia United Methodist clergy to learn and grow with over a two year period.
  • Develop a general idea of what you would like to study in your time together.
  • Submit your general application.
  • Approved applicants will be notified.
  • Once approved, your group will participate in a two-day orientation retreat.  At the retreat your group will meet with a coach to refine your group plan.
  • Groups will submit their continuing education plan no later than January 31 of each participating year.
  • Groups will be required to attend a mid-point retreat.

What's the time commitment?

  • ACE2 requires participants to be involved in peer learning 10-14 days per year for two years.  Although it will be different for each group, overnight retreats and travel are expected for all groups.  

Why does my group have to be 6-8?

  • From experience, a group of 6-8 is an ideal size. It is small enough to feel like an intimate group and also practical enough to travel together. It is large enough to have variety and an engaging dynamic.

What if I don't have a group or if there are not enough people in my group? 

  • It is strongly encouraged that clergy self-select; however, for those without a group, ACE2 will help facilitate group formation by making available a list of interested clergy on an ACE2 Match-Up web page . Participants must commit to a group of 6-8 clergy in order to participate.
  • Groups that fall short of the 6-8 group requirement are still encouraged to recruit for members on the ACE2 Match Up web page.  Groups who do not meet the minimum required number of participants will not be approved.
  • ACE2 will NOT assign people to groups. Groups must self-select.

Can people join the group after it is formed?  

  • No.  Once approved, groups are closed for two years.  No one new may be added, even if the group is less than 8 members.

Can I be in more than one group? 

  • No.    

What am I supposed to study?

  • Your group of 6-8 clergy will determine what continuing education you need in order to refresh your self, church and community. In order to apply, your group needs to have a general idea of what you would like to learn together. A detailed plan is not required to apply. Groups are encouraged to dream and explore learning experiences beyond church. 
  • ACE2 funds are limited to custom learning experiences designed by peer groups. Prepackaged continuing education events are discouraged. Groups are encouraged to design their own unique continuing education experience. While Pastor’s School and prepackaged conferences are beneficial, they will not be funded by ACE2.

Do I get CEUs for ACE2?

  • Yes.  Your two year participation in ACE2 will earn you all 6 CEUs required per quadrennium.  

What does it cost to participate? 

  • Approved ACE2 participants are expected to pay a non-refundable $500 participant fee in January of each participating year.  The first year's payment is due January 2020.  Participants are encouraged to use their continuing education budget for this fee.   

How does funding work?

  • ACE2 will allocate funding for groups ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 per participant per year. Groups that demonstrate diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, life stage, appointment context, as well as, theological diversity are encouraged. Funding levels for each group will be communicated before the orientation retreat.
  • ACE2 funds are not grants, but allocations accessed through a reimbursement process.  
  • Due to the unconventional nature of this continuing education, ACE2 funds are considered taxable income.  Participants will receive a 1099 each year on the actual funds used.