The second class of Trinity Leadership Fellows gathered in early September — coming together from Argentina, the United Kingdom, several countries in Africa, and across the United States — to start their journey as faith leaders called to serve their communities, congregations, and God.
They spent a week together, worshipping, praying, and digging deep into their understanding of their faith and values. This second cohort also started the first sessions of their Community Organizing course. This time together where they get to know and trust each other will serve as a foundation for the lifelong community and support they will provide to one another.
These fellows share a common passion for their faith as an anchor and driver of how they build and lead communities of faith and service. They come to this passion from many different perspectives: Evangelical, Methodist, Episcopal, Anglican, and Roman Catholic; rural and urban; newly graduated and years into ministry. In just the first few hours of the opening workshop, their rich differences in points of view drove lively conversations, and their shared learning began to form deep interpersonal ties. The Trinity Leadership Fellows program is designed to provide skills and community for the fellows, and the first class dove into both aspects enthusiastically.
While still here in person, the fellows traveled to East Brooklyn, where the Reverend David Brawley and residents of the Nehemiah Houses provided powerful inspiration in the opening of their Community Organizing class. Nehemiah’s 4,500 units of affordable housing, built by a coalition of neighborhood churches, made tangible the power of effective organizing and drove home the lesson that faith leaders must listen to and empower their congregations and neighbors, leading as servants to the greater community.
In the next twelve months, the fellows will complete a demanding series of online classes, including Community Organizing; Conflict Transformation; Change Management; Non-Profit & Church Administration; Adaptive Leadership; and Social Entrepreneurship, all of which are structured around faith and values. These courses will deepen their sense of community and mutual accountability to each other.
At another session, fellows drew inspiration from Pamela Sutton-Wallace, the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Yale-New Haven Health, as she reflected on her healthcare leadership roles and how her faith inspires and sustains her.
The messages of the opening week of the fellows' time together — listening, loving, and serving communities in need as the foundation of faith leadership — will resonate throughout their two years of study together and hopefully for the rest of their careers and ministries across the world. As the fellows learn and expand their work, on poverty, health, environment, disabilities, and building strong, faithful worshipping communities, we hope they will individually and collectively embody the Gospel and share God’s message of love.