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.
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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.
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.
Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) requests a four-year grant for partial support of its Uptick program. This effort seeks to provide clergy with individual and group interactions that will enable them to deepen their spiritual leadership, heighten their sense of accountability to colleagues and lay leaders, and construct a vision for their pastoral vocations that will guide their ministries. BGAV will identify young pastors who serve congregations in three high-density population areas of Virginia that are ethnically and racially diverse and form them into peer clergy cohorts. During a one-year period, the pastors in each cohort will engage in a combination of retreats, online meetings, coaching and mentoring aimed at helping them deepen their listening skills (such as the ability to listen to God, mentors, peers and people in the communities they serve) and responding appropriately as pastoral leaders. They will also address the challenges of ministry by training for intercultural intelligence, reconciliation and urban community development to build bridges of civility for flourishing. To sustain this program, BGAV will cultivate a “pay-it-forward” ethos, raising funds from former participants and their congregations and soliciting gifts from new individual donors.
Barton College, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) collegiate institution in Wilson, North Carolina, is proud to launch the Center for Vocation and Rural Ministry (CVRM). CVRM is focused on supporting pastors of small congregations and congregations of color in the region of Eastern North Carolina. The Center, functioning as a program of the Barton College Center for Religious Studies, focuses on assisting pastors who serve in full-time and bi-vocational ministry. It offers short-term sabbatical experiences, spiritual support, and intellectual and social opportunities, as well as the possibility of mentorship and relational development with other regional pastors. Each year, Eastern North Carolina pastors may apply to participate in a two-year cohort in the Revive! Renewal Experiences. These experiences offer pastors an opportunity to have a retreat experience at Barton while college personnel provide pulpit supply for them. Cohort pastors focus on their well-being throughout their time in the program and are supported by spiritual directors. Pastors are given access to Barton College's fitness, intellectual, and spiritual resources. As an institution, Barton is committed to personal wellness and wholeness, and CVRM's offerings invite local pastors to experience the same.