Denver Seminary, a nondenominational, evangelical school, requests a five-year grant for partial support for its Soul Care Initiative (SCI) program, an effort that seeks to provide spiritual renewal, physical rest and a supportive community for local Denver pastors. Focusing on executive-level pastors, the seminary will form cohorts of 20 to 30 clergy each who will gather regularly for nine months for facilitated monthly retreats, individual spiritual direction and personal prayer practices. In addition, the seminary will offer periodic retreats during pivotal seasons of the liturgical church calendar for alumni of the SCI program and other clergy throughout the Denver area. The aim is to cultivate a wider network of pastoral leaders who support one another in their ministries. To sustain this program, Denver Seminary will seek individual and corporate donors, church partnerships and sponsorships with organizations supporting pastoral leaders.
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.
The Moravian Church Northern Province (MCNP) seeks a five-year grant for partial support of the Moravian Clergy Connections Project. Conducted in partnership with the Moravian Church Southern Province (MCSP), the project consists of four initiatives that will form Moravian pastors from throughout the United States through spiritual direction, coaching, mentoring, cohort groups, and an interprovincial retreat that brings clergy together for mutual learning and support. They will collaborate with Moravian Theological Seminary to develop educational components and with the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America to seek ongoing funding. To sustain the effort, the MCNP will use earnings from an endowed fund, and the MCSP will draw on proceeds of a recent estate gift. Their goal is to enhance clergy health and leadership to equip them to support one another and their congregations to be more vital agents of God’s transforming love in the world.
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 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.
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a multidenominational evangelical theological school, requests a five-year grant to support its Thriving in Ministry in New England program. The theological school will create cohort groups of working pastors from across New England, including Gordon Conwell alumni, and gather them regularly to form relationships with mentors and peers and improve their overall spiritual, relational, emotional, physical and vocational health. Each cohort will be led by two pastoral mentors and address a particular career stage in ministry or specific congregational setting. Cohorts will meet for a two-year period, and activities will include retreats, gatherings at Gordon Conwell, monthly group meetings and semiannual learning development opportunities. Sustainability for this project will come from a combination of support raised from congregations and new donors – as well as from support generated from a new center devoted to coaching pastors and congregations.