Thriving in Ministry, a new initiative at VTS, brings to clergy leaders peer group learning, trained facilitators and in the process support the vitality of the congregations, schools, and institutions they serve. The Thriving Initiative, supported by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., will initially focus on five ministry contexts: Ethnic Missioners, Church Planters, Clergy Couples, School Chaplains, and Women Clergy seeking to expand into new leadership roles. Thriving will serve as a catalyst to form Peer Learning Groups by providing tools so that potential participants can identify their learning goals, Thriving will also train a cohort of Group Facilitators. In addition, Thriving will train a cohort of mentors so that along with the peer group learning experience each participant may choose to have a mentor. Facilitators and Mentors are recruited from proven leaders in the Episcopal Church.
Thriving in Ministry is built upon the foundation of other Lilly grants known to VTS such as Transition in Ministry and the Second Three Years.
Thriving in Ministry call for the collaboration of church practitioners and church academics. The Rev. Dr. David Gortner is the Principal Investigator for the grant. His experience with the five focus ministry contexts brings depth of knowledge and of practice. The Rev. Dr. Carol Pinkham Oak is the Program Director drawing upon her experience in parish ministry as well as the unfolding of the Transition into Ministry projects. Imani Kane is the Program Administrator for the grant with her knowledge of community organizing, mentoring teens, and not for profit scholarship programs. Imani is currently completing her Masters in Theological Studies at Wesley Seminary.