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.
Brite Divinity School seeks a five-year grant to establish its Thriving in Ministry Initiative project, an effort that will create intentional opportunities for pastoral leaders to develop strategies for collegial support during personal, professional and communal transitions. Through three distinct programs, this project will: 1) provide pastoral mentors for graduates of Brite Divinity school as they transition from their last year of formal theological education into ministry contexts for two years postgraduation; 2) develop resources for clergy experiencing transitions after five years or more in ministry; and 3) gather Latino/a pastors in Dallas, Texas, who are connected to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as they minister in communities and churches in transition. Brite will sustain this project through increases in annual giving, testing fee-for-service models and incorporating activities into the ongoing operations of the school.
Flourishing Pastors: A Wholistic Systems Approach
The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, affiliated with the Episcopal Church, requests five-year grant to support its Flourishing Pastors: A Wholistic Systems Approach program, an effort that seeks to provide for the flourishing of newly ordained clergy serving in rural, small congregations in the diocese. The program will provide individual mentors for all newly ordained clergy and those new to the diocese, host monthly regional clergy groups for spiritual formation and support, organize diocesan clergy retreats and conferences to sharpen leadership skills, encourage and support spiritual direction and coaching for clergy, and conduct regular leadership development programs for teams of parish clergy and lay leaders. To sustain this effort, the diocese will incorporate the program into its operating budget and raise funds from new donors.
Cardinal Stritch University, a Franciscan university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, is launching the Collaborative Parish Leadership Program, an effort to strengthen the leadership of Catholic parishes across the country by helping priests and parish life coordinators (who are often lay ministry professionals) work more collaboratively. The program will form cohorts of priests and parish life coordinators who will gather three times for two-day consultations to build relationships with each other, explore leadership practices for working more collaboratively, strengthen their leadership skills and share ideas about how to address common challenges. In addition, the university will conduct research and synthesize the learning from the cohorts to develop and share a body of insights, principles and promising practices about how collaborative leadership can guide the ministries of local parishes more effectively. Cardinal Stritch will seek support from Catholic foundations and develop an affordable fee structure to sustain this program.
Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation (OPSF) requests a three-year grant for its Pastoral Leadership Revitalization Program, an effort to recharge the spiritual energy of pastors with the overall goal of revitalizing congregations. The program is an integrated mentoring and spiritual regeneration initiative for ordained clergy and lay pastors in the Central Nebraska, Missouri Union, and Missouri River Valley presbyteries and will involve both Presbyterian Church (USA) and a diverse ecumenical mix of clergy who serve as local pastors and lay pastors in small rural and urban congregations. The pastors will have opportunities to receive mentoring and coaching from experienced clergy, participate in pastor peer-to-peer networks, engage in retreats and spiritual rejuvenation activities and benefit from targeted actions to support their families. To sustain this work, OPSF will solicit funds from new donors and seek foundation grants.