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.
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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.
International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), a denomination of more than 1,700 churches in the United States, seeks a five-year grant for partial support for its Thriving Throughout the Seasons of Pastoral Ministry program. Through this program, 180 to 200 pastoral leaders — women, men, pastors serving multiethnic/multilingual congregations, church planters, and those in transition from rural to urban ministry settings and vice versa — will engage in multiple-year peer learning and mentoring communities with pastors serving similar size congregations so they might build a peer network and explore together leadership challenges posed by their settings. To sustain this effort, IPHC will launch a deferred giving and capital campaign effort dedicated to this program and will incorporate elements into its operating budget.
Union Theological Seminary is home to RISE Together, a national mentorship network specifically for women of color that connects seminarians and early/mid-career clergy with experienced female ministers, pastors, scholars and community leaders. Founded as an initiative of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (Union) in collaboration with the women of color in Ministry (WOCIM) Project, RISE supports both the professional and pastoral formation of women of color as they embark on ministerial careers and serve in church and faith-based leadership positions. RISE Together program staff are working to develop a sustainable model for the recruitment and retention of mentees, mentors and host institutions. Currently, the mentorship network has 10 cohorts in 7 cities—New York, Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Lancaster, Pa., Oakland and Los Angeles with a total of 104 mentees. Host institutional partners include, RISE headquarters Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, American Baptist Seminary of the West, Innovative Spaces for Asian American Christianity, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Interdenominational Theological Seminary, Lancaster Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary.
Lexington Theological Seminary (LTS), affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), seeks a five-year grant for its Thriving in Ministry: Strengthening Pastoral and Congregational Ministry program. The program seeks to support clergy who are connected with LTS and serving in congregations to help them strengthen their role as pastoral leaders. Focusing especially on pastors in the first five years of ministry, the seminary will gather clergy into small cohort groups that will meet for a three-year period and provide them with mentors and educational leadership development resources. In addition, LTS will conduct research on bi-vocational clergy who are serving in rural and urban contexts as well as pastors serving Latino/a and African-American congregations to understand how the seminary may support their personal and professional growth. To support this effort, LTS will incorporate targeted programs which support pastoral thriving in its capital campaign.
Catholic Church Extension Society of the United States of America (Catholic Extension) seeks a five-year grant to provide partial support for its Mission Immersion Program for Pastors. This effort will create mission immersion experiences that will foster life-giving and mutually enriching relationships among midcareer pastors and mission communities. Research suggests that midcareer priests are searching for new inspiration, especially those who are busy in their parishes and have begun to feel a sense of isolation from the larger church or are feeling hemmed in by the many demands placed on them. Through this project, cohorts of five to seven priests will travel to mission communities for several days to experience firsthand the church’s missionary work in distressed regions of the United States. The aim is to broaden their theological and pastoral horizons, facilitate spiritual rejuvenation, and develop deeper relationships among priests and faith communities. To sustain this work, Catholic Extension will absorb the project into its normal operations and invite congregations to increase their mission investment.