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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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.
Esperanza is launching Renovación Pastoral (Pastoral Renewal) a program funded by the Lilly Endowment. Esperanza is a faith-based nonprofit organization driven by the biblical mandate to “serve the least of these.” We strengthen our Hispanic community through education, housing and economic development, immigration legal services, job training and advocacy. Renovación Pastoral supports new pastors in their first years of service to the Latino communities of Philadelphia, Allentown, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading. Through Renovación Pastoral we offer these pastors a sacred space to be affirmed, to learn, and to be nurtured through mentoring that is focused on both spiritual and practical matters. Esperanza connects pastors in their first years of ministry with active and retired long-term pastors who have demonstrated longevity and success in local ministry, helping the younger pastors to transition successfully into congregational leadership, while building a pastoral legacy for the well-seasoned religious leaders of the Latino communities of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Center for Faith and Imagination (CFI) at Memphis Theological Seminary offers resources and opportunities for faith leaders to live fully and healthily into their calls to ministry. Building on the importance of Christian community and grounded in the understanding that clergy are called to be both pastors and prophets, CFI programs include: Faith Formation Groups: small groups of clergy who covenant to meet face-to-face twice monthly for two years for theological reflection, collegial encouragement, and mutual accountability in a setting to form and deepen relationships, knowledge, spiritual practices, and ministerial vision; Scholarships: in partnership with Clergy Coaching Network, will provide funding for clergy coaching and spiritual direction for ministers whose budgets do not include this support; Immersive Retreats: opportunities for clergy to learn from and with partner individuals and organizations who are effectively engaged in imaginative ministries addressing both the inward and outward journeys of faith leaders and laity; Renewal in Nature: outdoor experiences to provide rest, renewal, and recreation for faith leaders by connecting with God’s creation and with fellow participants through hiking, fishing, gardening, canoeing, and wandering in the woods led by naturalists and spiritual guides; Fellowships: selected recent MTS graduates serving in in under-paid or unpaid settings receive a year’s stipend and are partnered with a faculty mentor to help them develop innovative ministries.
Macedonian Ministry Foundation (MMF), an ecumenical organization, seeks a five-year grant to establish the Pastors in Community for Renewal and Leadership Development program. This effort will build on and expand a successful program in which groups of 10 to 15 pastoral leaders are formed into cohorts and commit to meet monthly for three years. Each cohort is guided by a trained facilitator who functions as both a mentor and a “pastor to the pastors” and who leads the pastors through a leadership development curriculum focused on pastoral health and leadership, congregational development and community engagement. In addition, the pastors will attend a series of retreats focused on deepening their sense of pastoral identity and vocation and travel together to the Holy Land and other locations for leadership immersion experiences. MMF anticipates that it will launch 21 new pastoral cohorts during the next five years, 7 of which are supported directly by Thriving in Ministry funds. To sustain this program, MMF will incorporate key elements into its operating budget and raise funds as part of its ongoing fundraising.