Fifteen Georgia Pastors Receive Grants through Columbia Seminary’s S3 Project
Decatur, GA—Fifteen Georgia pastors are members of project teams that have received grants from the S3 Project of Columbia Theological Seminary, in Decatur, GA. The pastors, who are Methodist and Presbyterian, receive approximately $1,000 each per year for two years to fund group projects that focus on aspects of Sabbath, study, and service. Each participant also receives up to $300 in need-based aid for travel to the program orientation and subsequent annual meetings, which are held each August. Six Presbyterian pastors in the Atlanta area received funding for their “Practicing What We Preach” project. The group includes Mary Jane Cornell, Druid Hills Presbyterian, Atlanta; Jane Fahey, Atlanta; Michael Foley, Timberridge Presbyterian, McDonough; Steve Goyer, Covenant Presbyterian, Atlanta; Agnes Norfleet, North Decatur Presbyterian, Decatur; and William Wade, Jr., First Presbyterian, Covington. The groups says in their project proposal that they “hope to both learn new ways to connect with the spiritual disciples and to renew each member’s spirit by sharing together in corporate worship.” Given that these pastors work on Sunday mornings, their plan is to seek out alternative worship experiences in faith communities led by dynamic Christian and non-Christian leaders and then engage those leaders in conversation about their own spiritual disciplines. Another of the group’s goals is to consult with a pastoral counselor in an effort to deepen their relationships as colleagues in ministry and help them support one another in times of personal or pastoral transition. Harry Barrow of Newnan Presbyterian is working with three Presbyterian colleagues in South Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida on a project titled “Reformed Worship.” The four met while students at Columbia and have gathered regularly since graduation. Their project focuses on the development of a fresh model of worship that is based on the essential traditional elements of Word and sacraments. The work of author Ronald Byars, who refers to these elements as “bath, bread, and book,” will form the study component of their project. They also plan attend the annual music conference of the Presbyterian Church (USA), at the Montreat (NC) Conference Center. In addition, the group will travel to Chicago to consult with a faculty member at McCormick Theological Seminary and to visit the non-denominational Willow Creek Church, where more than 20,000 people attend weekly worship services. Eight United Methodist pastors from central and south Georgia received funding for their project “Thomas Keating Meets Tiger Woods.” They are Timothy Bagwell, Director of Congregational Development for the South Georgia Conference, and M. Creede Hinshaw, Mulberry Street Methodist Church, Macon; Jimmy Asbell, Jr., First Methodist Church, Warner Robins; George Martin III, Christ Methodist Church, Warner Robins; Patrick Green, Vienna and Shiloh Methodist churches; Benton Martin, Springfield Methodist Church, Springfield; Mike Huling, Pittman Park Methodist Church, Statesboro; and John Stephens, St. Andrew Methodist Church, Columbus. Their project will address the problems of burnout, competitiveness, and stress that plague ministers. Group members plan to intentionally remove themselves from the demands of ministry by attending 10 overnight retreats. During the retreats, the group will study the book Open Mind, Open Heart by Father Thomas Keating and will focus on centering prayer using the video series Spiritual Journey. And, as their project name suggests, they will take a little time for recreation, on the golf course. Columbia Theological Seminary’s S3 Project is funded with a $1.3 million grant from the Lilly Endowment. Now in its second year, the project offers opportunities for pastors of all denominations, working in small groups, to develop models for sustaining excellence in the practice of ministry. To date, funding has been awarded to 100 pastors from 17 states, representing 20 denominations. The S3 application procedure requires a group proposal and individual applications for each group member. Applications for new projects are due April 22, 2005. Groups will be notified of acceptance by May 13, 2005. Each group is expected to attend an orientation workshop on the Columbia campus August 15-19. For information about the S3 Project or application materials, please visit http://www.ctsnet.edu/lifelong/continuing_education/s3.asp or contact Sarah Erickson, associate director for Lifelong Learning and S3 Project coordinator, at 404-687-4526 or email@example.com.
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