The Center for Courage & Renewal will use its Circle of Trust® approach to help pastoral leaders develop and nurture the collegial relationships vital to thriving in ministry and sustaining the work of faithfulness. We will create and convene five communities of practice made up of twenty-five early career clergy and six to eight seasoned clergy and trained facilitators each. These communities will gather for three, multiple-day retreats and monthly, small group peer learning calls over the course of a year-long program. To sustain this project, the Center will incorporate the project into its operating budget and seek funding through partnerships, grants, individual donations, and project revenue.
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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.
Orthodox Church in America (OCA), a denomination of more than 700 Eastern Orthodox churches across North America, seeks a five-year grant for partial support for its Thriving in Ministry Initiative 2018 program, an effort to strengthen the leadership practices of OCA clergy and equip them to be joyful, creative and thriving pastoral leaders for the parish communities they serve. Based on a successful pilot program started in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania in 2015, OCA will establish facilitated clergy peer learning groups throughout the United States. Trained facilitators will guide priests through regular discussions around self-care, spiritual growth, vocational joy and leadership. Clergy spouses will meet with trained facilitators as well. To sustain this program, OCA will charge participants a fee and will ask each diocese to support their participating priests.
The Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama, a Roman Catholic religious community grounded in the Benedictine tradition, seeks a five-year grant to support its Women at the Wellsprings: Drawing from Timeless Springs to Nourish Ministry Today program. Through this effort, the Benedictine Sisters will help ecumenical groups of women pastoral leaders thrive in their congregational leadership role by sharing with them the Benedictine values of hospitality and community and engaging them in the spiritual practices of prayer and hospitality from the Benedictine monastic tradition. The program will gather groups of women pastoral leaders five times in two and a half years for eight day sessions of worship, prayer, peer group reflection, presentations and rest. In addition, the pastoral leaders will develop a plan to engage in spiritual practices that they will implement when they return home. To sustain this effort after the grant period concludes, Benedictine Sisters will invite participants to raise funds through their congregations and denominations.
The Sisters of St. Benedict of Beech Grove, Indiana, through the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center, received a five-year grant to support its Thriving in Ministry project. Focused on women clergy, this project will gather 40 clergywomen from different Protestant denominations in two cohorts for five, 10-day retreats that include learning, prayer and spiritual mentoring (Women Touched by Grace). Additionally, each year 20 clergywomen will gather to participate in learning sessions focused on moving gracefully through transitions in their personal and professional lives (Grace Filled Turnings). Training women clergy to act as mentors is also part of this initiative (A Multitude of Mentors). To sustain this project, the Benedict Inn will draw on an established fund that invites parishioners, families, friends and judicatories to provide financial support.