June 22, 2000
Luce Foundation Awards Major Grant to Episcopal Initiative
For Immediate Release
Memphis - The Henry Luce Foundation, in its latest round of grant
allocations, has awarded $200,000 over a three-year period to "Fresh
Start," a collaborative effort of the Episcopal Church, through
the Offices for Ministry Development and Church Deployment, and
Cornerstone, a ministry of The Episcopal Church Foundation.
"Fresh Start" is a diocesan-led program for clergy in new cures
and for lay leaders in the congregations where they serve. It
seeks to strengthen the relationships among Episcopal clergy,
congregations, and dioceses during the critical periods of transition
in clergy leadership of congregations.
in congregational leadership can be a problem and an opportunity
for clergy and the communities they serve. According to The Rev.
James G. Wilson, Director of the Church Deployment Office and
a partner in the project, "Statistics indicate that the turnover
for all Episcopal clergy averages slightly over six years. This
means that over 1200 congregations will experience calling new
clergy leadership each year."
loss of a rector is often viewed by many congregational leaders
as a crisis - a critical and precipitous time in the leadership
and life of the community. Another partner in the project, William
S. Craddock, Jr., Director of Cornerstone and a former senior
warden of his parish's vestry, offered a metaphor to describe
this transitional period. "It is as if the new rector is a young,
strong plant that has been grown with care and expertise in a
nursery until such time as it can flourish independently. On its
way to a garden, it is suddenly thrown onto someone's porch with
a note reading 'Good luck and grow,' and no other instructions
for its care."
"Fresh Start" program has been under development for the past
two years to address this leadership crisis and a host of other
issues surrounding new relationships among clergy and congregations.
With seed money from the National Church and The Episcopal Church
Foundation, a diverse group of lay and clergy volunteers from
across the country has been meeting on a regular basis to review
the 25 curriculum modules written for the program, develop training
conferences for diocesan facilitators, and implement marketing
strategies for introducing the program to the Church at large.
grant from the Luce Foundation will be used primarily to fund
the facilitator training conferences over the next three years,
to implement a comprehensive evaluation process designed to measure
the effectiveness of the program in dioceses where it is in use,
and to develop additional programmatic materials on a continuing
more information on "Fresh Start," contact The Rev. Dr. Melford
E. Holland, Jr., Coordinator for Ministry Development, Episcopal
Church Center, at 800-334-7626.
IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH..........