PastoraLab for Asian American Women Ministers was created by the Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) and collaborates with the Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. PastoraLab equips Asian American women ministers with the knowledge, learning, and empowerment to advance their pastoral leadership for thriving congregations. It addresses the particular challenges and opportunities Asian American women ministers face from a historically minoritized social location. Pastoralab is made up of three cohorts of women -- two in Southern California and one nationwide -- that are facilitated by both a minister and scholar. Participants follow a field-based curriculum that reads the Bible from Asian American lenses and generates constructive Asian American hermeneutics, organizational leadership, and economic and ecological stewardship to thrive in their ministries. The program will also conduct a nationwide survey on the status of Asian American women ministers in Asian American churches and gather quantitative data to help move Asian American churches towards more equal pulpits.
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Missio Seminary, an inter/multidenominational, evangelical school, seeks a five-year grant for partial funding of its Program for Urban Leaders and Pastors in Transition (PULPIT); an effort to support pastors serving urban congregations in the Philadelphia metropolitan region, and help them negotiate various key professional transitions at different stages of their ministerial careers. The program will bring pastors together as peer colleagues to develop healthy support systems for each other, encourage them to attend to their own health and wellness, and equip them to address challenges faced by urban churches. In addition, this endeavor will help the pastors develop flourishing relationships with other pastors that cross racial, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries, and encourage them to help their congregations bridge these divides. To sustain the program, Missio Seminary will incorporate programmatic components into its operating budget and its doctor of ministry degree program.
Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) —affiliated with the United Church of Christ— in an effort to support new pastors in their first years of ministry after seminary graduation, hosts a program specifically curated for new and bi-vocational clergy who are serving congregations in economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities. The CTS “Resilience in Leadership” initiative will gather pastors into five regional cohorts across the country that will meet quarterly for two years and convene annually at a consultation featuring exemplary pastors and experts. Each Resilience in Leadership program participant will also meet monthly with an experienced pastor-mentor to cultivate a vision for and negotiate the challenges of leading a small and under-resourced congregation.
George Fox University seeks a five-year grant for its Portland Seminary to launch the Institute for Pastoral Thriving. This effort will build one-year peer cohorts of eight to twelve pastors each to foster authentic relationships, offer safe spaces for exploring pastoral leadership challenges, nurture spiritual disciplines, and provide a network of allies to support their own thriving in ministry. The Institute will directly address challenges to pastoral thriving, particularly professional transitions and the rapidly changing demographics of the Pacific Northwest. It also will offer an annual symposium for all cohorts to gather as a larger body alongside the seminary community with the intent to foster fruitful conversations regarding pastoral spiritual renewal. To sustain this project, George Fox University will seek funding from denominations and congregations and provide advanced standing credit in the seminary degree programs for project participants.
Cultivating Enough in the Care of Clergy is a two-year program for pastors who are serving small churches, churches in communities of color, and church plants and re-plants. Part of the Presbytery of Philadelphia’s Ministry and Leadership Incubator, this program is based upon the conviction that healthy leaders shape healthy congregations. The program uplifts a “theology of enough” both within the pastors and these contexts, which are often under-resourced and with their leaders facing burnout. Through cohorts of 10-12 pastors each, participants intentionally focus on “being enough, practicing enough, and offering enough” by being resourced through regular small group gatherings, retreats, deep rest, and one-on-one support. After completing the program, pastors are encouraged to be resources for incoming cohorts, spurning a larger culture of wellness within the named contexts of the presbytery by nurturing a connectional spirit alongside their peers of pastors. Inspiring pastors in these particular settings encourages health and vitality among these congregations in order to better transform their communities with the love and justice of the good news of Jesus Christ.
The Mexican American Catholic College is partnering with the Lilly Endowment to strengthen existing programs and launch new initiatives that help pastoral leaders thrive in ministry as they serve in congregations of color. MACC received $1,000,000 to be spent over a three-year period beginning in January 2021 and continuing through December 2023.
The primary focus of the grant is to address the glaring inequities of access to integral ministerial formation and higher education for Latino(a) lay men and women who discern a call to ministry but cannot afford to receive the formation and credentials needed for employment as a Lay Ecclesial Minister. To accomplish this and in partnership with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, MACC has established the Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry and Service. The Archdiocese also committed a matching grant to support the staffing and programs of the Institute and other MACC programs that serve the local Church.
Additionally, through close collaboration with national partners in ministry formation, the project is strengthening supportive programs for Women and Men Religious in Hispanic Ministry, Priests, Seminarians, and Deacon Candidates. These programs include language and
intercultural studies, spiritual accompaniment (especially of young leaders), and supportive peer
groups to keep the hard-working pastoral leaders hopeful and healthy.
“Esperanza - Hope” is MACC’s overarching theme for the project to provide integral ministerial formation and resources for pastoral ministers to thrive. MACC believes that hope-filled ministers can fill the empty hearts of families mourning the loss of loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope-filled ministers can give direction to communities of color paralyzed in fear and uncertainty, without trustworthy guidance. Hope-filled ministers can heal hearts and transform structures ravaged by generations of systemic racism. Hope can animate and strengthen Pastoral Leaders in Hispanic Ministry who are weary and disoriented.