ECF Announces 2019 Fellows

The Episcopal Church Foundation is excited to announce the four individuals named to the 2019 Fellows class – Tucker Adkins, Francisco Garcia, Christopher McNabb and Callie Swanlund. These innovative and emerging leaders are pairing their expertise with their passion to make a positive impact on the Episcopal Church and beyond.

As ECF’s longest running program, the Fellowship Partners Program has been supporting entrepreneurial leaders since 1964. Initially started to support academics with intentions to teach in seminaries, the Fellowship has expanded over the years to lift up emerging academic and ministry leaders who seek to impact the wider Church. ECF is proud to partner with our 2019 Fellows and is excited to journey with them as they shape the Episcopal Church of the future. To view a list of all ECF Fellows, click here.

ECF President Donald Romanik, extending his congratulations to the 2019 Fellows, said, “For more than half a century, ECF's Fellowship Partners Program has identified and supported emerging and aspiring leaders. Our 2019 Fellows continue the tradition of pursuing important, innovative and potentially transformational academic and ministry initiatives. We look forward to working with these exceptional individuals as we commend their efforts to the wider church.”

The four recipients’ scholarship and ministry projects show a Church that is engaged in a changing world. The 2019 Fellows are addressing the need for rethinking church space, how the Church can engage in ethics and social justice, the spiritual needs of first responders and the creation of new missional space. Read more about their projects below.

Tucker Adkins is a PhD candidate in American religious history at The Florida State University. While he is interested broadly in the history of Christianity, his current research focuses on early evangelicalism in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. His dissertation will provide a spatial analysis of the “awakenings” reported in North America, Britain, Scotland, and Wales, showing how early evangelical leaders like George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, and William McCulloch produced their transatlantic revival movement through specific spatial engagements. Tucker is excited about adapting his research to a trade-book that helps congregations think about how strategic engagement of their worship and meeting spaces facilitates daily community-building, local cultural engagement, and Kingdom advancement. Tucker earned his B.A. in History from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2013 and completed his M.A. in Religion from Florida State in 2017. He has also been a member of the Chapel of the Resurrection—the Episcopal Diocese of Florida’s campus ministry at Florida State—since 2016, and served the congregation as Graduate Fellow for Discipleship during the 2018-19 school year. Tucker and his wife, Shannon, are both natives of Knoxville, Tennessee. With their 1-year old daughter, Anna, in tow, they love traveling, trying new food and coffee, spending time with family, and cheering on the Tennessee Vols.

Francisco Garcia is an incoming PhD student in the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University. He will be focusing his PhD work on Theological Studies and Ethics. He brings nearly 20 years of justice-based work at the academic, professional and pastoral levels and intends to develop a theology of organizing around pressing social and economic justice issues rooted in the liberation tradition. Francisco was born and raised in Southern California in a working-class, Roman Catholic, Mexican immigrant household. He found his way to the Episcopal Church as a young adult, joining All Saints Church in Pasadena in 2004, where he was sponsored for ordination to the priesthood. Francisco completed his M.Div. from the joint program at the Claremont School of Theology and the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont (Bloy House). Prior to ordination, Francisco worked in the labor movement for a decade in various organizing, negotiating, and leadership capacities with workers in both the public and private sectors. His work over the last ten years has centered around interfaith community organizing and advocacy around issues related to systemic poverty, racism, and immigration. His commitments in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles have included serving on the Commission on Ministry, the Program Group on Peace and Justice Ministries, and the Joint Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention (in partnership with the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church). In addition to his current role as Rector at Holy Faith Church, Francisco co-designed and is currently co-teaching a course in the Community Scholars Program at UCLA entitled “Sanctuary and Faith: Organizing Models and Best Practices of Sanctuary in Los Angeles,” a joint program of the UCLA Labor Center, the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, and the Department of Chicana/o Studies.

Christopher McNabb was born in Bryn Mawr, PA, growing up in the same house his Dad grew up in. After graduating from La Salle University with a BA in religion, Chris served as a campus minister and theology teacher in Catholic high schools in the Philadelphia area. He also worked at a women's prison, provided pastoral care to migrants, and served those impacted by HIV/AIDS. Chris was attending St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Camden, NJ when he felt the call to seminary and subsequently enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary. After graduation, he completed Clinical Pastoral Education at Capital Health in Trenton, NJ where he helped create a chaplaincy program to paramedics in Mercer County. Soon after obtaining a diploma in Anglican Studies at General Theological Seminary in 2017, Chris took vows and received his habit with the Order of St. Francis, an Episcopal religious order, rooted in traditional Franciscan values, adapted for the modern era. He currently serves as the Curate for Caritas, Justice, and Healing at Trinity Church in Princeton, NJ. Chris seeks to integrate a life of service for Jesus Christ with a contemplative prayer life. As a Franciscan, Chris has been charged by the church to build bridges between the institutional church and those who feel excluded from the church or society. Chris has a passion for working with migrants and refugees, those held in immigration detention centers and our local first responders all of whom endure untold trauma. He will use his Fellowship to help serve these communities. Inspired by Fr. Greg Boyle, Chris believes that God calls us to build communities of kinship such that God would recognize them.

Callie Swanlund serves as both a parish priest - Associate Rector of St. Christopher’s, Gladwyne, PA (outside of Philadelphia) - and a "priestpreneur." She created How2charist: Digital Instructed Eucharist - a film and resource for formation and evangelism - and leads individuals and groups in the work of Dr. Brené Brown as a Certified Daring Way Facilitator. Callie is a mama, creator, lover of Jesus, and dreamer. She is currently living into her call to share the gospel of love and welcome in new ways by building The Epiphany Space, a missional space in a robust, diverse neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia. It’s so named because Callie envisions it inspiring us to follow our dreams, share our gifts, and look out for one another. The Epiphany Space will be a place where a dream can come to life from start to finish: dreaming, creating, and sharing. A beautiful and inspired space for visioning, co-working, writing, and connecting, The Epiphany Space will be equipped with an integrated, on-site tech studio and will host space for community to gather to enjoy the end product of God’s gifts come to life: live music, an art gallery, classes, worship, meals, opportunities for justice and service, and more. As an ECF Fellow, Callie will focus on the startup phase of this missional space: creating mobile opportunities for clergy, lay leaders, and parishes to use their creative God-given gifts and engage in digital ministry and evangelism. While discerning a location for The Epiphany Space, she will bring The Epiphany Space to others by holding (metaphorical) space for their epiphanies, including monthly meetups for those discerning how to recognize and use the creative gifts God has given them, and continuing to consult and travel around the country teaching others how to make their ministry dreams come alive and use their dreams to share the Good News of Jesus.

The application process for the 2020 ECF Fellowship will open in November, 2019. Complete information about the ECF Fellowship Partners Program can be found on ECF's website or by calling 800-697-2858.