In Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis writes, “One of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself.”
Beginning with the common point of Baptism, Christians spend their lives learning each day what it means to be Christian in an ever changing world. Contemporary culture and societal norms present challenges to living a Christian lifestyle with appropriate attitudes, values and behaviors. Young pastors and leaders of congregations are doubly charged with maintaining their own faith and vocation, guiding the faith and choices of their parishioners, and developing knowledge of the concerns and issues facing their parishioners and communities as they live the Gospel in the secular world. It is that point of intersection between faith and culture that provides both joy and challenge for a pastoral leader.
With funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., Marquette University has created a cohort-based pastoral leadership program for early career clergy and pastoral ministers that will focus on the intersection of faith and culture. Pastoral Leadership in a Cultural Context is a two-year program which seeks to address both the personal faith formation and support of clergy and other pastoral ministers, and their vocations as leaders of leaders in the wider community where faith and culture often collide.
Religious leaders can have a powerful influence on their communities and in congregational life especially in living the Social Gospel. People in Wisconsin face a variety of serious concerns ranging from poverty and economic disparity to education and segregation.
These pressing concerns will be topics for quarterly “Summits,” bringing the cohort together in dialogue with community and business leaders and with small teams of Marquette faculty, to share experiences and ideas, build community relationships, develop leadership strategies, grow in understanding of pressing cultural issues, and practice contemplative prayer.
We are currently accepting applications for our third cohort, to begin in June 2019. We are looking for motivated, early-career clergy/ministers with an M. Div. or equivalent degree, and 5 to 10 years of pastoral experience to join our next cohort.
Marquette University is proud to welcome 14 new pastors to our second pastoral cohort. Our first gathering was held February 20-22 at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI. Featured speakers included Mr. Marcus White, Vice President of Civic Engagement for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Rev. Jean Dow, Pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church who led us in a discussion on the role of the public theologian, and Fr. Chris Manahan, S. J. who introduced us to the life and conversion of St. Ignatius Loyola and Ignatian spirituality.
Marquette University welcomed 11 early-career pastors from six Christian denominations to the inaugural cohort of its newly formed Pastoral Leadership in a Cultural Context program.
Our Welcoming summit (the first of seven planned over the course of the program's two year term) was held September 21-23 at the Cedar Valley Retreat Center in West Bend, WI. The summit focused on presenting an overview of the many social justice issues facing the community of southeastern Wisconsin, on forming ourselves into a community of engaged church leaders, and introducing cohort members to the methods and practice of Ignatian spiritulality.