The 2013 College of Pastoral Leaders Cohorts

The College of Pastoral Leaders (CPL) has selected its Class of 2013. Eight cohort groups were awarded a total of $80,000 in grants to pursue their shared passions and help each other sustain the life of their ministries. CPL was established with the belief that the quality of pastoral leadership matters for the church, and pastors who engage with a community of peers are better able to lead the church. The CPL program is administered by Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary and funds self-designed two-year programs for cohort groups up to six members. Read a little more about each of the 2013 cohort groups.

The Circle

The Circle is an assembly of women who have a passion for leading the 21st-Century church and who are looking for ways to be prophetic and compassionate as they lead the church out of the building and into the world. They seek to deepen their lives and ministries through intentional living and communal accountability by establishing a “rule of life.” They will also learn about transformative leadership by engaging other women who are leading church in a changing culture through interviews, observation, and common service.

Flying By the Seat of Our Pants

These five hospital chaplains from different faith traditions worked together at one time in the same acute care hospital and continue to serve in consumptive ministries of care where burnout is common. They will renew the practice of Sabbath Rest through topical study and time together one Saturday each month and in semi-annual retreats. Their experience will culminate in leading a Sabbath Rest day-retreat for area local pastoral care givers.

Heart and Spirit

In Birmingham, AL, a city divided religiously, racially, culturally, and economically, four pastors are dedicated to bridging divisions. They are a Roman Catholic priest, a Baptist pastor, a PC(USA) pastor and a Jewish rabbi, all advanced in their careers and leaders of large neighboring congregations. They will meet in six retreats to “get off the merry go round”—to seek spiritual wisdom and reinvigoration by learning about and experiencing spiritual practices from diverse traditions.

Holy, Whole, and Bold

This diverse group of six women in pastoral leadership describe themselves as “holy: sanctified by God and dedicated to our ordination vows; whole: dedicated to healing and growth and bringing the whole of our humanity before God so that we can be sane and thriving even in systems that are unjust; and bold: dedicated to systematic change toward justice.” They will meet every three months to explore these themes through mutual vulnerability, learning from sage leaders, and expressing themselves in dance, art, and other embodied practices.

Pop Tarts: Pessimistically Optimistic Pastors Talking and Reflecting Together

A group of six friends from seminary, these PC(USA) pastors want to stay fresh and alive in ministry by addressing how to better handle the conflicts they encounter in their ministry settings. They will meet for three 3-day retreats, to be together—as friends and supporters—and to work through case studies from their own experiences so they might develop deeper self-understanding, gain tools, and share resources for managing conflict.

The Story Continues

“Five Protestant pastors from Minnesota” sounds like the beginning of a joke, but this cohort is serious: They gather for a 24-hour retreat each month where they surrender their cell phones and obligations and focus on telling stories as a way of opening up their lives and the life of God. They will meet at times with a spiritual director and will read common texts. Each pastor will also host one storytelling event in his or her own context and attend another outside of a church setting.

Well Women

These four women in ministry long to drink deeply from the well of God’s grace. Their spirits thirst for deeper connection with God. To satisfy that thirst, they will meet five times and be in contact with each other in between times, to engage ancient practices of spiritual writing, yoga, and Christian community—practices which promise to transform their bodies and replenish their souls for the love of Christ.

The Whinrig Six

Six PC(USA) pastors in their first years of ministry have come together to form a community that will be a source of sustenance for their vocational lives as they reflect together, and with outside experts, on the intersection of pastoral identity with particular areas of pastoral practice.