Trinity Church Wall Street awarded Virginia Theological Seminary $750,000 for the program: Connecting and strengthening ordained and lay leaders in ministry and mission across the Communion. This special program, led by both the Grow in ministry Initiative (Prosperous) and the Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS), seeks to strengthen the Church by developing skillful and resilient leaders. The Very Reverend Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., Dean and President of VTS, will oversee the grant.
A respected authority on systematic theology, social ethics, and religious diversity known for nurturing critical thought leaders, Markham led VTS’ largest fundraising campaign, garnering broad support for VTS’s vision for its 3rd century; and oversaw increased enrollment, selectivity, and diversity of the student body. A trained Christian ethicist and Bible scholar, he is a prolific author and has received numerous scholarship and teaching awards.
$375,000 from the Trinity Church Wall Street Grant will be used to strengthen and develop leadership capacity within The Episcopal Church.
Prosperous has already worked successfully since 2018 to connect and strengthen more than 150 Episcopal priests, thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment. Prosperous strengthens leaders in a variety of departmental settings through sustained personal and peer mentoring and coaching. The Trinity grant allows Prosperous to broaden and deepen its scope. Prosperous will be intensely focused on training a next generation of clergy and laity as skillful mentor-coaches, skilled in helping others become “learning leaders” using its cutting-edge resources for disciplined personal reflection and courageous, curious exploration, playful experimentation and purposeful deliberate practice to create new patterns and habits of leadership. This process will help strengthen leaders in areas important to church leadership: community building, conflict agility, building collaborative co-leadership, clarity of purpose and commitments. , contextualizing community faith, deepening spiritual practice and practicing public advocacy.
Prospering (now operating among the Lifelong Learning Initiatives at VTS) is led by Rev. David Gortner, Ph.D., and Rev. Carol Pinkham Oak, D.Min., who together have led many programs iterative learning and training. As a former VTS professor, Gortner has taught, directed doctoral programs, and initiated several community engagement projects for 11 years. After teaching and leading seminary programs for 17 years, Gortner returned to parish ministry, serving as rector of St. Luke’s in Coeur d’Alene, ID. His work in evangelism, community engagement, faith building, and leadership development continues to shape life in The Episcopal Church and beyond. His books (Transforming Evangelism, Varieties of Personal Theology, and Around a table) continue to be widely used. Pinkham Oak has served as a priest in urban and suburban parishes for more than 33 years, serves on the board of trustees of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and has led several programs over the past 20 years to develop clergy in the early years post-seminars.
“We are delighted to have such support from Trinity Church Wall Street as we enter a new phase of our Grow in ministry Initiative that will deepen our formation of mentor-coach leaders committed to strengthening leaders in the Episcopal Church,” Gortner said. “Our work so far among women priests expanding in leadership, with clergy in Asian-American and Black ministry networks, with chaplains and rectors in Episcopal schools, among church planters and evangelists, and with clergy couples has already shown the benefits of working with mentors and peers on ongoing personal leadership development. This grant allows us to take Prosperous to the next level, and to reach a wider range of church leaders.
$375,000 from the Trinity Church Wall Street grant will be used to develop and strengthen leadership in three strategic groups within the Anglican Communion.
The CAC part of Connecting and Strengthening Ordained and Lay Leaders will focus on three target groups: young church leaders, seasoned bishops, and women in leadership positions at all levels. CACS teams up with TEAC (Theological Education in the Anglican Communion) to design a specific program for each group. The programs for young leaders will be based in local regions for efficiency and ecological responsibility. These regions include the Caribbean, Africa, Central America and the Middle East. Programs will include supervised groups focusing on spoken language (specifically English, Spanish, Arabic and Swahili). Support for Bishops in the Anglican Communion will continue the work of the Lambeth Design Group in providing opportunities for Bishops to deepen friendships, engage in Bible study and theological reflection, share visions and concerns and to support each other, in continued conversations after the Lambeth Conference. Virginia Theological Seminary will host a conference celebrating the diverse ministries of women in leadership at all levels, providing opportunities for mentorship, building a network of sisterhood, and sharing strategies and practical wisdom to combat sexism.
The Reverend Katherine Grieb, Ph.D., Director of CAC, will oversee this three-pronged approach to Anglican Communion leadership development. She has taught emerging leaders and new bishops since 1992 and has published widely on biblical interpretation, theological ethics, and preaching. One of six preachers chosen by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, she has preached in Canterbury, Westminster Abbey and St. Thomas’ Church in New York, among others. Grieb has served on commissions and committees of the Anglican Communion for more than 20 years, including the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission, the Inter-Anglican Commission on Unity, Faith and Order and the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. His book, The history of the Romansis widely used in seminaries and colleges.
“The Center for Anglican Communion Studies at VTS is delighted to support young leaders, seasoned bishops and women in leadership positions across the Anglican Communion,” Grieb said. “The CACS team (Hartley Wensing, Associate Director, Courtney Henderson-Adams, Administrative Coordinator, and our student assistants) are delighted to receive this scholarship. We are deeply grateful to partner with Trinity Church Wall Street on this project.
VTS leadership initiatives will build on past work of Prosperous and CAC contribute to a new culture of religious leadership, imbuing it with people equipped with new tools, ways of thinking, patterns of curious interaction, deliberate practices, and the will to continue to grow. Connect and strengthen ordained and lay leaders in ministry and mission across the Communion strengthen the faith-based mindset of leaders with practical skills to help them energize communities and faith-based organizations.
Trinity Church Wall Street, in its latest round of grants, awarded $23.4 million to organizations in New York, the United States and abroad. Of the 114 grants awarded by Trinity, 22 will support religious communities, including many Episcopal and Anglican churches, dioceses and seminaries, in the United States and around the world. Trinity has a total of 535 active grants and had its largest grantmaking year in 2021 with $46 million in grants.