2022 Clergy in Community Cohort

Clergy in Community

2022 Clergy in Community Program

This program will place promising early-career clergy (5-10 years in ministry) serving congregations in cities and towns throughout North Carolina and adjacent regions of Virginia in sustained conversation with the most notable and effective civic and business leaders in the region around key issues facing this area.

Retreat Meetings

  • September 19-21: Blowing Rock, NC – What is compassion?
  • November 14-16: Wilmington, NC – What is reconciliation?
  • February 23-24: Winston Salem, NC – What is justice?
  • April 17-20: Washington, DC – How do we make change?
  • May 22-24:  Raleigh, NC – How do we lead?

Commitment to these dates is required. Exceptions to these meetings are only given for emergency, unforeseen circumstances. A one-time travel stipend of $300 will be provided to apply towards the cost of traveling to the retreats. All lodging, meals, and programming during retreat dates will be covered.

Presentation and Discussion Topics Include:

  • Intercultural Development Inventory
  • Asset-Based Community Development
  • Theological reflection
  • Adaptive leadership
  • Community well being
  • Demography (town and church)
  • Racism
  • Environmentalism
  • Prison reform
  • Health care
  • Advocacy and government
  • Economy
  • Poverty
  • Hunger
  • Education
  • Immigration
  • Conflict resolution

Boundaries for Acceptance and Commitment Expectations

Who should apply? Those who…

  • Identify as clergy or ministers
  • Currently serve in a faith community congregational setting in North Carolina
  • Describe ministry as your primary career – even if you are not paid for full-time work, ministry describes your career
  • Hold an M.Div degree or equivalent from an accredited seminary or pastoral ministry program
  • Have approximately 5 – 10 years of experience in ministry
  • Yearn for community and a cohort with fellow ministers and will give of yourself to help the group engage
  • Welcome a theologically, socioeconomically, politically, and racially diverse group
  • Commit fully to attending the five required program retreats
  • Have space for reading and writing assignments to provide context to your meetings
  • Commit to vulnerability and confidentiality with your cohort

Application and Group Dynamics

We will accept applicants meeting the expectations and commitments above and who complete the application form below by August 17, 2022. Approved applicants will complete a covenant of participation by August 26, 2022.

Application questions you may wish to prepare ahead of time in order to provide thoughtful, clear, and succinct answers – approximately 1 – 3 paragraphs in length (approximately 250 words but not to exceed 500 words per answer):

  • Why are you interested in participating in the Clergy in Community program?
  • Participants in this program are a theologically, socioeconomically, politically, and racially diverse group of North Carolina clergy leaders. What is your experience to date in such a setting? How do you imagine contributing to and navigating within such a diverse community? Do you have any concerns?
  • Please describe the congregation you are presently serving. In what way has this congregation already responded to concerns or needs in their particular community?
  • What vision or hope do you have for this congregation in regards to community engagement?
  • Are there pressing challenges facing your locale at this time and do these realities impact your role as a congregational and community leader? (Optional question)
  • At this point as an early career pastor, how do you understand your pastoral leadership role both inside and outside of your congregation?
  • How do you believe this program would help or develop your vocational identity, leadership, and pastoral skills? Where do you see this program intersecting with the work you do as a pastor?

Apply Today

The deadline to apply is August 17, 2022. Acceptance notifications will be sent on August 19, 2022 and participants must commit by August 26, 2022.

If you have questions about the program, please contact program director Natalie Aho at ahon@wfu.edu or program coordinator, Darnysha Nard at nardd@wfu.edu.

Covid Policy

Currently, the Wake Forest University response to COVID-19 does not require masking indoors, though people are reminded to wear masks as they see fit. Meetings for the Clergy in Community Program will not always be held on the University campus, but we will adhere to the rules of Wake Forest University or the places where we are meeting.

The University follows closely with CDC guidelines. All students, faculty, and staff are required to be fully vaccinated (including boosters recommended for your age group). The current policy may change in accordance with public health guidance. Members of the Clergy in Community Program will be notified by Program Leadership should any changes occur that will impact the Program. You are expected to follow Wake Forest University COVID-19 protocol while present for the Clergy in Community Program in-person meetings which will likely include testing before attendance. Masking requirements indoors will depend on current policies. Learn more about WFU policy.

Program Leadership

  • Program Director Natalie Aho, Program Manager for the Baptist Commons, Wake Divinity (ahon@wfu.edu)
  • Program Coordinator Rev. Darnysha Nard, Wake Divinity (nardd@wfu.edu)

Additional Program Information

The goals of our program are to help participants:

  • Cultivate their own knowledge about and awareness of critical issues in their contexts even as they imagine the constructive and transformative roles congregations can play in responding to those issues;
  • Build networks of relationship with leaders of business, government, education, health, and social service organizations in order to gather and multiply strengths, avoid duplication of effort, and generate more creative initiatives through collaboration;
  • Encourage the congregations they lead to throw their energies into such initiatives as mutual learners with other organizations and faith groups, together advocating for the common good and well-being of their communities;
  • Embody practices of adaptive leadership, responding creatively to the rapidly changing circumstances they encounter in congregational and community situations;
  • Integrate their work and commitments as pastors with their work and commitments as civic leaders to the mutual benefit of their congregations and the public square.

As a result of participating in this program, we hope that participants will:

  • have acquired a new level of competency and expertise about the critical challenges and opportunities in their region and about the role churches can play in responding to those issues;
  • have developed connections with civic and business leaders that can lead to continuing collaborative conversations and imagining that will be mutually enhancing for the good of their community;
  • have developed a network of clergy peers who share a common vocation of public religious leadership;
  • have developed new skills and practices for leading congregations to a greater awareness of regional and global critical issues and of their communal calling to bring values of faith to bear on these issues;
  • be better able to articulate the theological groundings for their public leadership and be more confident in their leadership in church and community and have a more integrated understanding of the role of clergy in community leadership.

Clergy in Community is made possible by the generous support of the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Early Career Leadership Development Initiative