Clergy Women Thriving Vocationally
Research and experience show and tell us that pastors with fellow clergy support networks have reduced feelings of isolation and aloneness, and clergy mentoring relationships can play a critical role in helping to reduce many of the stressors and challenges faced by pastors. In the Evangelical Covenant Church, 21% of our pastors are women. Many of our lead or solo female pastors are serving in small towns or rural areas without access to a network of other clergy women, or they are an associate pastor serving on a team of primarily men and are missing a female mentoring relationship. Women need to see and experience other women leading in pastoral ministry. Women need to be supported by those who have developed resilience and strategies for the unique challenges facing women in ministerial leadership.
The goal of the Thriving Vocationally area of the grant, is to help address these issues of isolation and lack of female leadership examples, through supporting cohorts of clergy women who are mentored by a seasoned clergy woman. These cohorts may be based on location or interest and will be formed and designed by the women to fit their needs.
Many clergy women have participated and benefited from the relationships built and strengthened in these cohort opportunities. Here are two videos from cohort participants sharing their stories, Video 1 Video 2
What Are the Cohorts?
Cohorts are comprised of 6-8 women journeying together with a mentor for at least one year. Grant funding supports cohorts by providing resources to allow the cohorts to meet regularly as they journey together. These networking opportunities allow women to address their unique challenges in ministry, find support in each other, create a supportive environment that will encourage women to flourish and thrive in the ministry, and contribute to increased sustainability in ministry.
Who Is Involved?
This opportunity is specifically for female clergy. Mentors are seasoned female clergy who are ordained in the ECC with at least 10 years of ministry experience and have some congregational leadership experience. Mentees can be in a variety of different places in their vocational careers. In particular, the grant hopes to connect clergywomen who are early in their years of ministry with this resource. Cohorts can apply for the grant and are based on location, interest, or affinity groups. If you are interested in more information, please contact Thriving Vocationally Coordinator, Christy Bouris.
What Is the Commitment?
Mentoring cohorts commit to journeying together for at least one year and will plan to meet a minimum of four times over the course of the year. The Midwinter Conference and ECC Gather provide additional spaces for cohorts to connect. Grant funds are available to use for gatherings and travel as outlined in the budget proposal for each cohort. Cohorts are welcome to reapply to continue beyond one year together through the annual application process.
Applications will be accepted annually and are due by June 1. The cohorts typically meet for one year, from September through the following August each year. Cohorts have the option to apply for a renewal to continue beyond their first year.
If you are interested in being a Mentor and forming and leading a cohort, please fill out the Cohort Application. In addition to the Cohort Application please submit a proposed Cohort Budget following the Cohort Budget Guidelines and the Expense Reimbursement Guidelines.
If you have been invited to join a cohort, either existing or new for the upcoming year, please fill out the Individual Application. These are for individuals who are participating for the first time (with a new cohort, or a cohort applying for a renewal). If you have filled out an Individual Application in the past, you do not need to fill one out again. Please note, Mentors filling out the Cohort Application do not need to fill out the Individual Application.
If you are interested in more information about the cohort application process please contact Thriving Vocationally Coordinator, Christy Bouris.