ECF Announces 2018 Fellows

June 7, 2018

June 7, 2018, New York, NY -- The Episcopal Church Foundation has named two 2018 Fellows - Sarah Barton and Joshua Rodriguez-Hobbs. These innovative and emerging leaders are pairing their expertise with their passion to make a positive impact on the Episcopal Church and beyond.

ECF’s Fellowship Partners Program has been supporting entrepreneurial leaders since 1964. The fellowship supports emerging scholars and leaders so they can better pursue their ministries. ECF Fellows go on to share their knowledge and learnings with the wider Church, impacting our communities in innumerable positive ways. ECF is proud to partner with our 2018 Fellows and looks forward to walking with them as they explore and shape the Episcopal Church of the future.To see a list of all ECF Fellows, click here.

Congratulating the 2018 Fellows, ECF President Donald Romanik said, “We are fortunate to be journeying with these innovative leaders who will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the world around them. ECF looks forward to supporting their scholarly and ministerial pursuits and the fruit they bear.”

“I’m grateful for the important work our 2018 Fellows are doing,” said Melissa Rau, ECF’s Senior Program Director for Leadership. “We awarded two fellowships this year; each is meeting a real need. Our Fellows are exploring ways the Church affirms and respects the dignity of every human being, specifically as it pertains to people with disabilities, changing the landscape of healthcare chaplaincy, and identifying best practices into how faith communities can be agents of physical healing.”

Read more about our 2018 Fellows below:

Sarah Barton

Sarah is a Doctor of Theology candidate in Theology and Ethics at Duke Divinity School, as well as a registered and licensed occupational therapist. Sarah's research focuses on the intersections of disability and theological anthropology. She specifically investigates how theologies and practices of baptism across the ecumenical spectrum can foster communities of belonging for people living with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. As Sarah finishes her dissertation, she looks forward to revising it to publish a trade book for clergy and lay leaders, as well as spending greater time holding workshops and formational experiences around the baptismal covenant and issues at the intersection of disability, theology, and ecclesial life. Sarah has six years of experience working as a pediatric occupational therapist, with clinical specialties in populations with Autism Spectrum Disorder, muscular dystrophies, medical complexity, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sarah has published in multiple interdisciplinary settings around themes of disability theology, disability studies, intellectual disability, spirituality and health, and clinical pediatrics. Sarah received her B.S. in Biology from Seattle Pacific University in 2009 and her M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Boston University in 2012. She completed her M.T.S. at Duke Divinity School in 2014. Sarah currently resides in Michigan where she is a faculty fellow at Western Theological Seminary. She enjoys spending time trying yummy food with her spouse, Andrew Phillips, who is a United Methodist Elder, and going hiking with their tiny dog, Jed.

Joshua Rodriguez-Hobbs

Josh serves as the Episcopal Chaplain to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, a shared ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Before going to seminary, Josh was encouraged by his bishop to take a gap year. During this year, Josh worked as a Chaplain Resident in Covenant Health System’s Clinical Pastoral Education program in Lubbock, TX, where he discovered his love of chaplaincy. Josh’s call to ministry is rooted in this experience of lay chaplaincy. Today, Josh provides sacramental ministry to Episcopal patients through the Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as serving as the unit chaplain to two inpatient psychiatric units and as a Certified Educator Candidate in the hospital’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program. Josh is also active in the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Healthy Community Partnership Program (HCP), which provides local clergy and lay leaders to provide medical advocacy and spiritual care to members of their faith communities. Josh’s project will support the HCP by providing training and grants to five local Episcopal parishes to begin or expand a public health ministry. Josh is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School, the Episcopal Seminary at Yale, and has previously served as a parish priest and a hospice chaplain.