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.
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.
Grand View University (Des Moines, IA) houses The Moses Project, funded by the Thriving in Ministry Initiative of the Lilly Endowment, and in collaboration with the Southeastern and Western Iowa Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The mission of the project is to give rural pastors in the early stages of their career a vision for ministry that will help them thrive in congregational leadership and in turn, enhance the vitality of the congregations they serve. The project will connect 20 pastors each year with mentors and clergy exemplars who are equipped to guide them through challenges that they encounter serving in rural communities. During the 10 month program the pastors will meet regularly with their mentors, both in person and online, and participate in opportunities for renewal and reflection through retreats, relevant curriculum and other activities.
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina is planning, as part of its Thriving in Pastoral Ministry in the Episcopal Church program, an effort to launch new priests into vibrant ministries by deepening their community-consciousness and helping them form missional imaginations. The diocese will assign three new priests to serve as pastoral residents for three years in one of three congregations. The priests will rotate through these congregations, serving each congregation for one year. The congregations are geographically proximate and comprise members from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic communities. Supported by spiritual direction, supervision, mentoring, coaching from senior clergy and leadership development experiences with peers and colleagues, these new clergy will develop cross-cultural competence, missional vision, liturgical agility, leadership skills, and vocational resilience. The diocese will sustain the program by drawing on earnings from endowed funds and raising additional gifts from individuals and congregations.
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.
The Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama, a Roman Catholic religious community grounded in the Benedictine tradition, seeks a five-year grant to support its Women at the Wellsprings: Drawing from Timeless Springs to Nourish Ministry Today program. Through this effort, the Benedictine Sisters will help ecumenical groups of women pastoral leaders thrive in their congregational leadership role by sharing with them the Benedictine values of hospitality and community and engaging them in the spiritual practices of prayer and hospitality from the Benedictine monastic tradition. The program will gather groups of women pastoral leaders five times in two and a half years for eight day sessions of worship, prayer, peer group reflection, presentations and rest. In addition, the pastoral leaders will develop a plan to engage in spiritual practices that they will implement when they return home. To sustain this effort after the grant period concludes, Benedictine Sisters will invite participants to raise funds through their congregations and denominations.