Gift from the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau Makes the Barnabas Project a Reality
New Training Program for Seminarians, New Clergy, and Lay Leaders Sponsored by ECF Through the Generosity of the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau
September 7, 2011, New York, NY – The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) is very pleased to announce a new pilot program, The Barnabas Project: Parish Life Education for Seminarians, New Clergy, and Lay Leaders. This innovative initiative is made possible through the generosity of the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau.
Canon Gerdau was a parish priest in the Diocese of Northern Michigan for 20 years, Archdeacon in Missouri, and understands the needs of clergy at the congregational level. “I’ve always been proud of my profession and vocation and want my fellow clergy to be as well trained as possible,” said Canon Gerdau. “This is a program which will build upon the excellent education that many receive at the Church’s seminaries, and will hone their skills in non-theological and practical aspects of ordained ministry so that the Church and its ministry will be strengthened.” Canon Gerdau served as Canon to the Ordinary to former Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and has been a trustee for the Church Pension Fund. He continues his dedicated service to the Church at many levels.
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.
The Barnabas Project will support the ministry of seminarians and newly ordained priests by providing them with training, skills development, best practices, and other resources in the area parish finance and administration, as well as working with lay leadership. Third year seminarians at five identified Episcopal seminaries, and newly ordained priests and their lay leaders in three to five dioceses, will attend a training workshop to be followed up with a series of web-based seminars and individualized assistance.
“The Church is changing more rapidly than ever,” noted Donald V. Romanik, ECF President. “It’s absolutely critical that priests and lay people be equipped to lead our congregations in the 21st century. After three years, the Barnabas Project will have trained 180 graduating seminarians and an estimated 180 newer ordained priests and lay people.”
Romanik went on to express his thanks to Canon Gerdau. “ECF would not be able to offer this important new pilot program without Carl’s partnership, experience and wisdom. Together we have developed an innovative approach that we believe will effectively address a clearly articulated need in the Church. We are enormously grateful for this opportunity and for Carl’s support.”
To learn more about the Barnabas Project or about partnering with ECF to serve the changing needs of the Episcopal Church, please contact Kate Adams, Vice President of Programs at 800-697-2858 or email her.