This fellowship is made possible by the generous support of the Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation and Kalliopeia Foundation.
What: A holistic leadership development program for young North American faith leaders who are exploring vocational issues focused in the areas of food justice, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and ecological resilience.
Why: There are too few leadership development opportunities for young faith leaders working on the issues posed by broken food systems, climate change, and ecological degradation, and yet these are issues that faith leaders and congregations need to confront head-on. Through this fellowship, the next generation of faith leaders will explore and deepen the inner resources needed to sustain their work. This program also provides an opportunity for emerging leaders to consider how they may further engage our pressing ecological issues, connect with other similarly committed leaders, and better tell the story of why this work matters for the life of the church and people of faith.
Who: Young (age 40 and under) religious leaders who show exceptional promise. The 15 fellows selected will be people who already possess leadership experience in the program’s focal areas. (Current WFU School of Divinity students are not eligible to apply; however, WFU Divinity alum who meet the above criteria are encouraged to apply.)
What you will gain: By the end of the week you will have:
- drafted a one-page vocational vision that provides durable guidance to your journey
- outlined a one-page abstract for a future grant proposal or white paper to develop a project
- explored your role in systems (e.g. food systems, faith communities)
- explored your role as a storyteller, using narrative to share your work and vision
- better articulated the role and function of faith in your public work as a faith leader
- practiced working with tools that may enhance the quality of your leadership
- identified opportunities for partnership with other fellows in your cohort
- joined a supportive network of peers with whom you can partner beyond the week of the fellowship
- been inspired to persevere in your work
More information about the next fellowship program will be available online later this year. To receive more information, join our mailing list.
Matthew Wesley Williams, M.Div., is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE). Matthew is a member of FTE’s senior leadership team and provides leadership, management and oversight for FTE’s strategic initiatives to cultivate diverse innovative leaders for the church and academy. He leads with a passion and interest in leadership formation, scholarship and social change. He brings to this role over a decade of experience within the organization in recruitment, program development and administration. Prior to coming to FTE, Matthew served at the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer at Morehouse School of Medicine. There he coordinated the research, advocacy, and educational initiatives of sixteen community cancer coalitions in ten states in the American South. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center and bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and in philosophy and religion from Florida A&M University. He is a facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal and an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Fred Bahnsonis the director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He is the author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith (Simon & Schuster) and co-author with Norman Wirzba of Making Peace With the Land (InterVarsity). His essays have appeared in Oxford American, Image, The Sun, Orion, and Best American Spiritual Writing. His work at WFU School of Divinity has focused on training and equipping faith leaders to create “more redemptive food systems.” After graduating from divinity school, he worked as a peaceworker among Mayan coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, and in 2005 co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church supported agriculture ministry that he directed until 2009. He is the recipient of a number of grants and awards, including a W.K. Kellogg Food & Community fellowship, a Pilgrimage Essay Award, and a North Carolina Artist Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the North Carolina Arts Council. He lives with his family in Transylvania County, NC where they tend a ½ acre permaculture orchard, terraced hillside gardens, and a dwindling flock of chickens.
How much does it cost?
The fellowship is free. Tuition, food, and lodging during the fellowship are all covered by the program. The only cost to fellows will be travel. To cover your travel costs you might find support through your church, workplace, or crowd funding. For those without such support networks, some need-based travel funds are available.
What will the retreat involve?
We take a formational approach to leadership development. We will encourage you to think of leadership as a way of being in the world. Through a series of dialogue-based exercises and conversations as a group, in dyads and triads, and through individual journaling, you will have the chance to reflect on your leadership in terms of how you show up in the world. You will be invited to explore the relationship between the core of who you are, and what you do as a leader. We will also explore the ecological implications of our practice of leadership, taking account of the non-human world on which all life depends. And finally you will have opportunities throughout the retreat to learn narrative writing skills, exploring the ways that your personal narrative intersects with God’s narrative, and how through story you can share your work with the world.
Have additional questions?
Contact Fred Bahnson, Director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative: firstname.lastname@example.org