Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal
Benedictine Women of Madison, an ecumenical religious community, received a five-year grant to support its Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal program. This endeavor seeks to offer pastors in the early- and mid-stages of their careers the opportunity to experience spiritual renewal through immersions in Christian contemplative practices and the forming of supportive relationships with clergy peers. The pastors will participate in two immersions to experience the rhythms, people and sacred space of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Between immersions, pastors will stay connected to one another through video conference calls and a variety of leadership resources and activities sponsored by the Center. The Benedictine Women will sustain this program through partnerships with congregations and external organizations, grants, earnings from its endowment and modest participant fees.
Catholic Leadership Institute requests a four-year grant for partial support for its Revolutionizing Pastoral Placements: A New Way to Match, Appoint and Transition Catholic Priests to Parishes program. This endeavor seeks to move beyond the limits of the current diocesan placement system – often reactive and based on “plugging holes” – and create a leadership context in which priests build awareness of their strengths and a path for professional growth, parishes understand their unique charisms and ministry needs, and dioceses can think strategically into the future, armed with better information to align pastors and parishes. Catholic Leadership Institute will leverage innovative technology to assess the strengths and competencies of both priests and parishes in a diocese, as well as identify potential best-fit alignment between them. Catholic Leadership Institute will then work with diocesan personnel teams to proactively identify leadership needs and develop a transition and development plan for priests and parishes. Through this process, priests will have access to mentors and a network of peer and diocesan support. Catholic Leadership Institute will seek funds from diocesan partnerships and raise contributions from new donors to sustain this program.
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.
Ecology of Support for Pastors From and Serving Marginalized Communities
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.
Located in Harlem, New York City, City Seminary of New York seeks in its five-year grant to support its Thriving in Ministry Initiative project. This is an effort to cultivate an expansive community of pastoral practice across often disconnected ministries and church traditions in the metropolitan area. Through collaborative inquiry and praxis reflection groups, spiritual direction retreats, portraiture, and annual gatherings, City Seminary hopes to connect pastors in similar and different seasons of ministry to a community of support and encouragement. The project proposes to nurture clergy faith and spirituality, invite clergy to listen to their congregational members, explore the importance of their family and intergenerational interactions, and make space for them to reflect on their congregation’s mission and purpose in a complex and ever-changing urban setting. City Seminary will incorporate project activities into its ongoing graduate and non-degree programs and its operating budget. The overarching vision is to make Thriving in Ministry part of the fabric of our seminary life now and into the future.
The Dakotas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church seeks a five-year grant to support its Higher Ground program. This effort seeks to support rural church pastors by helping them develop and strengthen healthy leadership practices that promote the well-being of congregations and church systems. By focusing on a pastor’s holistic health (spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, social), the conference’s clergy will be better equipped to lead healthier congregations. The conference will walk alongside clergy at key junctures in their careers to help them reassess their calling and leadership gifts, re-engage with their sense of vocation and passion for pastoral leadership, and renew and refocus their ministries. Clergy will begin the year of renewal and refocus at a six-day retreat and will continue meeting with counselors and coaches through the rest of the year in the program. Pastors will participate in individual and group coaching as they put together personal and professional development plans. To sustain this effort, the conference will cultivate individual donors with a vision to support pastors, incorporate elements into its operating budget and reallocate earnings from its endowment.