FTE Blog


The Trayvon Martin Case and Why I’m In Campus Ministry

“What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” -Genesis 4:10

I am saddened and grieved by the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case. However, this incident and failure of our community, our laws and systems, have echoed in in me long before today.

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By: Charlene Brown July 15, 2013


Leadership: A Two-Way Street

In many ecclesial communities the concern for developing young leaders emerges primarily out of institutional anxiety about survival. The weakness in asking and answering questions about young leaders from such a perspective is that it leaves out the most important person in the conversation: the young person! When we think this way, we forget that young folks are constitutive members of our communities right this very moment.

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By: Alan Combs July 03, 2013


The Power of Diversity

What if I told you that diversity will be an important and coveted asset to solving problems in the future? That if the church and academy do not value or leverage diversity today they will diminish the quality of their future and relevance? Would you agree or disagree?

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By: Stephen Lewis June 25, 2013


Hope for the Next Generation of Academic Leaders

The Fund for Theological Education (FTE) held a “2013 Leaders in the Academy Conference” at Chicago Theological Seminary from June 6-9, 2013 under the supervision of Matthew Williams who is one of the Directors of Strategic Partnerships, specializing in building relations with theological institutions.

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By: Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim June 11, 2013


Volunteers Exploring Vocation - Windy City Style

In a city like Chicago, it’s easy to find amazing people doing outrageously awesome ministry if you look in the right places. The people of Chicago are out in the streets “doin’ life together,” as Phil Jackson, pastor of the Lawndale Community Church, put it. They have learned what it really means to live in community.

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By: Rachel Witkovsky June 05, 2013


Wild Spaces: Reflections on the First FTE Advisory Team Meeting

Theological education, the church, the world all seem to be changing faster than we can keep up. New questions, new technologies are complicating old problems and answers…

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By: Brian Bantum May 06, 2013


FTE Is At A Crossroads

For the past years, FTE has graciously supported faithful leadership for the church and academy. It has primarily accomplished this work as a fellowships-granting organization. But now that the church is in transition and there are major shifts in demographics and cultural trends, FTE is pausing to reexamine itself as it looks to move forward.

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By: Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim May 01, 2013


5 Questions with FTE Alumna Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko

Fran Davis-Harris spoke with FTE Alumna Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko about her call and vocational journey. She shared a glimpse of what it was like to be a young, woman of color trying to find her place in the world of Christian ministry. Read on to learn about her journey from swearing off organized religion, to becoming a seminarian and discovering her place in ministry.

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By: Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko April 16, 2013


Responding to New Possibilities

When was the last time you turned on your mobile device and saw that all is well and good in the world? Were you satisfied with what you saw? Were you like me and asked how is the church, with other partners, addressing big issues we face as a community, nation and world?

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By: Stephen Lewis April 04, 2013


Habemus Papam

On March 13, the Roman Catholic Church elected a new leader: Pope Francis. Seeing him come onto the balcony felt like a dream: could there really be an Argentinean Jesuit as Pope?! He was not one of the buzzed about contenders (he was not European or from the curia).

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By: Annie Selak March 18, 2013


A Clergyman Writes Comics

One of my basic theological assumptions is that we are essentially creative. In fact, when I read the first chapter of Genesis and hear of a god who makes human beings in the divine likeness, I simply imagine a Creator who creates fellow creators…

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By: Rev. Wesley Sun February 22, 2013


God is Hungry

“For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” –Matthew 25:35-40, NIV

God is hungry and waiting to be fed. This hunger is reflected each day in the faces of children standing in long soup kitchen lines and in the panicked voices of desperate fathers searching for a way to put food on the table for their families. Each day their numbers grow as God waits to be fed, the text of Matthew 25 resounding in repetition. When God’s creatures are hungry, God is hungry. Through the living witness of my work I have come to believe that our God is one who laments with us and feels the depths of our pain.

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By: Jennifer Bailey January 22, 2013


Circles of Friendship

“You want to be a preacher? Oh my God, what would make you want to do something crazy like that?” I didn’t expect that reaction this previous summer from a new acquaintance at a young professional’s mixer. As a college senior, whenever meeting someone, the conversation will inevitably turn to what my plans are after college. When I respond that I feel called to preach, there is always a mixed reaction. However, I had never seen preaching as a calling that was crazy. For a while I felt the loneliness of being a young adult responding to the call to not just serve in ministry in some aspect but instead preach.

After three days at the National Festival of Young Preachers, my calling to preach has been re-affirmed. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived in Atlanta. Would I be adequately prepared to preach?

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By: Brandon Harris January 10, 2013


Toward Interreligious Leadership Formation

“Are you the chaplain?” A slightly bemused expression played across my face, given I was standing there wearing a clerical collar. “Yes, I am.” “Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a freshman communications major from Minnesota. I’m Methodist, I’m gay, and I want to be a pastor.” When I finally managed to pick my jaw up off the floor I replied, “You’re hired.” Thus began my second week as the new University Chaplain for Community Life at Boston University, and thus began the Marsh Associate program at Marsh Chapel.

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By: Br.  A. Whitney LC Lawrence December 20, 2012


Easier Said than Silent

As an active preacher, words come easily to me…perhaps too easily. Often, in moments of levity, I playfully retreat into the familiar cadence and sonorous tone that I adopt in my homiletic practice, transforming a casual conversation into a ‘whooping’ session. It is all in good fun, delighting in the beautiful cultural expressions that add a depth of emotion and musicality to pulpit rhetoric. Those are times when I delight in the beauty of a well-delivered word for its own sake. Those are times in which the sound of my own voice is selfishly, albeit jokingly, loud and insistent. Give a preacher a platform, and (s)he will more likely than not have more than enough words to fill it..

As I write this morning, awash in the unending waves of a 24-hour news cycle, it seems as if words are in surplus..

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By: Kyle Brooks December 17, 2012


A Personal Reflection on the FTE Consultation at AAR/SBL

Getting up at 3:30 a.m. to get the airport by 4:30 a.m. is never fun. But it was for a Fund for Theological Education (FTE) Alumni consultation meeting; so I felt alright about compromising my sleeping hours. The FTE Alumni consultation was held at Chicago Temple-United Methodist Church at 9a.m on Friday November 16, 2012. It was a pre-AAR meeting to see how FTE should precede in the future as they won’t be accepting applications for fellowships that would be awarded in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Matthew Williams who is the Director of FTE’s fellowship programs recently stated that “FTE is putting a hold on fellowship programs to undergo a strategic assessment and planning process for the future of
the organization…

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By: Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim December 07, 2012


What’s Next

I wrote you earlier this fall regarding FTE’s strategic planning and one-year review of the Fellowships programs, with the exception of the Volunteers Exploring Vocation (VEV) Fellowship. As we prepare for the season of Advent, I am grateful for the great work FTE has done through 2012 with young leaders, and anticipate the next steps FTE will take in 2013 as we discern how the organization might best support and cultivate diverse young people to be faithful, wise and courageous leaders for the church and the academy.

This discernment period invites us to engage in conversations – lots of conversations. FTE will spend time next year talking to partners doing complementary work, faculty of theological institutions, church leaders and FTE Alumni, like you, and others…

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By: Stephen Lewis November 29, 2012


The Future of the Doctoral Programs

Recently we announced that FTE is putting a hold on fellowship programs to undergo a strategic assessment and planning process for the future of the organization. Thus, the doctoral programs will not accept new applications for fellowships during the 2012-2013 academic year. This is a bold and unprecedented move for FTE. These programs have been a vital source of support for underrepresented communities in the academy. There is much at stake in this decision for people of color. We don’t take this lightly.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams November 15, 2012


Climate Change is a Social Justice Issue

The idiom, “Put your money where your mouth is,” is often trotted out to take to task hypocrites and those among us who appear to say one thing and do another – or allow our saying to stand in entirely for our doing. The expression is a close cousin of “Put up or shut up” and “Money talks, [insert crass expression] walks,” and they are all meant to use money, that buyer of goods and root of all evil, as a fair marker of our ethics – if we claim to support a cause, surely we will invest in it, and if we think…

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By: Jason Myers November 09, 2012


Listening to Your Life

Just one week ago former volunteers from Tucson, AZ to San Francisco, CA to Dublin, CA joined together at Mercy Center, a Sisters of Mercy convent and retreat center located in lovely Burlingame, California. Fifteen former volunteers, including the leadership team of five local young adults, as well as Volunteers Exploring Vocation staff Jim Ellison and Martha Wright, came together for the 2012 “Volunteers Exploring Vocation” West Coast Retreat.

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By: Emily Czarnik-Neimeyer October 29, 2012

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