The Second Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal comprises 360 rural, suburban, and urban churches located in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina serving primarily Black congregations and communities. The Wounded Healers Pastoral Support Program (WHPSP) is designed specifically to promote holistic wellbeing among all clergy in the Second District, including new/early/mid/late-career and retired pastors. WHPSP has five goals that will help pastors thrive: 1. improve self-care, 2. engage spiritual formation practices, 3. maintain healthy boundaries, 4. cultivate authentic voices, and 5. establish meaningful collegial relationships. Pastors can take advantage of the program components, which are support groups, mentoring, retreat, or online web to increase their well-being. Resulting from discussions at clergy town hall meetings and feedback from online webinars, WHPSP partners with Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary and Chaney Coaching Group. Through this collaborative, clergy may receive training as mentors or the prerequisite preparation required to become a certified coach. The program also offers pastors the opportunity to participate in support groups, mentoring, retreats, and/or online Q&A website and webinars.
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) seeks a five-year grant to support its Thriving on the Journey: A Process for Pastoral Leaders program. This effort aims to support new and midcareer Mennonite pastors as they negotiate key professional transitions to help them address challenges and lead their congregations more confidently. During this two-year program, new pastors will meet individually every other week with wise pastoral mentors and together as cohorts of five pastors each for three extended weekend gatherings. Cohorts of six midcareer pastors each will meet with two seasoned leaders with expertise in pastoral ministry and intercultural competence four times a year to build peer mentoring relationships with each other and develop stronger skills for leading congregations in their particular ministry contexts. To sustain this program, AMBS will seek contributions from participants and their congregations and cultivate gifts from new donors.
Asbury Theological Seminary’s Thriving in Ministry Project is an effort that will form and support small groups (“thriving bands”) for clergy to provide mutual encouragement, mentoring, education and continuing peer relationships. Rooted in the Wesleyan tradition of class meetings, Asbury’s “thriving bands” will be composed of clergy in particular professional transitional moments, including: 1) women clergy in their first five years of ministry as well as those transitioning to senior leadership; 2) Latina/o bi-vocational pastors in their initial years of ministry when the challenges of establishing a clear identity, managing time and creating healthy family contexts require unique training, peer support and mentoring; and 3) church planters, during their inaugural period of ministry, with a focus on managing change as well as family relationships. To sustain this project, Asbury will draw on the existing financial resources, test participant-fee structures and develop cost-effective strategies to foster connections through video conferencing resources and mobile device applications.
Ashland University seeks a five-year grant for partial support to establish the Thriving in Church Ministry project. The primary focus of the project is to empower pastors to thrive in ministry through learning activities that strengthen pastoral identity, promote long term sustainability in ministry, facilitates significant relationships with peers and fosters a professional learning community. The Thriving in Church Ministry project will gather new, assistant, associate, early career, bi-vocational and co-pastors in metropolitan and economically distressed church communities for project-based learning, Ministry Exchange Workshops and seminars. The advanced Thriving in Church Ministry certificate will include personal assessment, leadership development, case studies, peer education, mentoring, and the development of practices designed to foster healthy relationships. To sustain this project, Ashland will offer an advanced Certificate of Thriving in Church Ministry and assess the needs of laity and clergy for the development of additional certificate offerings in theological education.
Azusa Pacific University (APU), an evangelical school rooted in the Wesleyan theological heritage, requests a five-year grant for partial support for its Thriving in Ministry program, an effort to expand leadership resources and provide mentors for pastors serving congregations in urban communities, especially women in ministry and pastors of color. The university will develop and implement an educational program that includes three modules that help pastors: 1) assess their health and well-being; 2) foster and support peer and mentoring relationships with colleagues; and 3) identify and develop their leadership strengths. Program activities will include coursework, workshops, webinars, assessments, reflection exercises and one-on-one coaching. In addition, the effort will invest significant time and resources into identifying and training experienced pastors to serve as mentors. To sustain this effort, APU will build program elements into its operating budget, form strategic partnerships with external organizations, solicit donations and charge modest program fees.
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.