The Barnabas Project: Year 1 of Leadership Pilot Program Complete
October 9, 2012, New York, NY – Thanks to a generous gift from the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau, last year the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) announced its new 3-year pilot program, The Barnabas Project: Parish Life Education for Seminarians, New Clergy, and Lay Leaders. The goal of Barnabas is to support the ministry of seminarians and newly ordained priests by providing them with training, skills development, best practices, and other resources in the area of parish finance and administration, as well as working with lay leadership.
While seminarians receive excellent theological education, changing realities throughout the Episcopal Church have resulted in fewer curacies and assistant positions that formerly provided new clergy with the opportunity to learn the practical skills needed to navigate the day-to-day challenges of leading a parish under the supervision of a more experienced priest or rector.
During Year 1 nearly 200 seminarians, new clergy, and lay leaders attended intensive one-day workshops, followed up by a series of six web conferences covering topics including: Leading & Managing Change, Managing & Administering, Partnering In/For Ministry, Giving & Asking, Communicating with Purpose, and Vision and Planning.
Five seminaries will participate in Barnabas during the 2012-2013 academic year: Bexley Hall, Columbus, OH; Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, CA; General Theological Seminary, New York, NY; Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, TX; and Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA.
“By serving as a vital and timely supplement to their seminary education, The Barnabas Project is an invaluable ministry to seminarians and newly ordained clergy whose primary goal is to serve as faithful, informed and imaginative leaders in God’s Church,” said the Rev. Allison St. Louis, Ph.D., Director of Field Education and the Second Three Year Program at Virginia Theological Seminary. “As a result, I am committed to partnering with the ECF so that our graduating seniors as well as our newly ordained graduates will have access to the wealth of resources offered through The Barnabas Project.”
During 2012 three dioceses also participated in Barnabas: the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, the Diocese of Oregon, and the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. “I am very grateful to the Episcopal Church Foundation for making The Barnabas Project available,” remarked the Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge, Bishop of the Diocese of West Texas. “It has been a major contributor to our discussions of what it means to be the Church and how to live that out in our culture.”
ECF is currently working to identify dioceses interested in participating in The Barnabas Project in the spring of 2013.
The Rev. Canon Gerdau’s three-year financial support is enabling ECF to empower future Episcopal leaders through The Barnabas Project. In order to continue developing programs that address the changing needs of our Church, ECF relies on the philanthropic generosity of our donors.