The University of Notre Dame seeks a five-year grant to establish a new project to support pastoral leaders and help them thrive in ministry. Based at its McGrath Institute for Church Life, this project will host annual, weeklong retreats for 12 pastors each who are nominated by diocesan bishops and organize regular continuing education events to support priestly renewal. The Institute also will host eight-day retreats to connect mentors and pastoral leaders in the first years of ministry to help prepare them for long-term ministry through professional development, financial and career planning, and personal and relational support. Mentors will meet with these early career pastoral leaders for two years. Ongoing engagement through digital resources will extend the reach of the initiative. The Institute will incorporate project activities into its operating budget to sustain the project.
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Resilient Leaders Project at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology strengthens the three streams of resilience — people, practices, and purpose — in the lives of Christian leaders. Over one year, cohorts of 8-16 church workers gather for four multi-day learning modules and monthly peer groups. Resilient Leaders Project provides clergy with opportunities to build relationships; practice spiritual, physical, and emotional fitness; and discern their vocational next steps to build generative communities. Leaders leave the program with deeper self- and other-understanding, expanded capacity to manage stress and change, and tools to create redemptive narratives from their personal and congregational stories. The project is committed to learning about the practice of pastoral resilience and its impact on congregations and communities. To sustain this work, The School’s advancement team will work with a development consultant to cultivate major donors interested in supporting this project.
The Southern New England Conference seeks a five-year grant for the Together We Thrive: Nurturing Pastoral Leadership program. Working in partnership with the Connecticut and Rhode Island UCC conferences, the Western Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts and the New England Synod ELCA, Lutheran, the program will offer a variety of opportunities for pastors to build relationships with peers and strengthen their leadership practices, including: 1) facilitated clergy cohorts to hone the practices of ministry; 2) clergy affinity groups to provide opportunities for intentional relationship building between clergy for mutual support and accountability; and 3) clergy coach training opportunities for seasoned clergy to work with new pastors. An annual colloquy will draw all the clergy groups together to reflect on challenges of pastoral ministry. The development specialist within the conference will oversee the fundraising to solicit donations from individuals, partner churches as well as additional grant sources to sustain this program.
Sojourners, a faith-based nonprofit organization, is leading an initiative to support the expansion of the Matthew 25 (M25) Network program. Matthew 25 seeks to connect experienced clergy with newer clergy to help them learn from each other through inter-generational exchanges. The program will form and support peer learning communities for 50 African-American pastors in the greater Washington, D.C., region and 100 Latino/a pastors in Southern California. In the second year, we will draw from lessons in year one to work with African-American and Latino/a pastors in an additional city. The pastors will engage in mutual mentoring, prayer, study, hands-on leadership education, and advocacy activities. These learning communities work in collaboration with seminaries and are designed to develop ecclesial imagination, engaging the congregations in the pastors’ learning process. These pastors of color and their congregations will be equipped through the program to respond effectively on multiple levels to the pastoral crises happening in their communities particularly immigration and criminal justice issues. We will share lessons learned from the project and highlight local efforts on our national media platforms. To sustain this work, Sojourners will work with its partners, the Christian Community Development Association, Centro Latino at Fuller Seminary, and Matthew25/Mateo 25 SoCal, to solicit support from individual donors, congregations, external partners, and through earned income.
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.
North Park Theological Seminary’s Thriving in Ministry grant is focusing on three main areas: Thriving Prophetically, Thriving Spiritually, and Thriving Vocationally. Our goal is to develop and implement programs and initiatives that will support our pastors in these key areas of their ministry. We intend to do this by: Developing peer-mentoring programs; Providing opportunities for pastors to explore the connection between their pastoral calling and social issues facing the church and world today, and; Creating continuing education opportunities for trained spiritual directors who are either themselves pastors or are providing spiritual direction to pastors, helping them enhance their interior life. To fulfill this goal we are committed to working with our pastors to determine how best we can serve them in reaching this goal and ensuring that the efforts we invest in through this grant will have a long lasting impact on the ability of our pastors to thrive in ministry.