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A Letter to DISCERN Participants

I graduated from my M.Div program in May 2020, at the beginning stages of the COVID pandemic. Like many of my peers, I spent 3 years studying and doing my best to prepare myself for the pastoral calling that I felt over my life. But once the pandemic took over, I started questioning my calling again. How could I not? With thousands of people becoming unemployed and sick, and churches closing their doors, the very vocational industry that held my vision of a pastoral calling had closed its doors. I felt lost, graduating into a world that held no value for me and my desired vocation.

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By: Howard Kim September 17, 2021


Have You Listened to FTE’s Podcast on Meaning, Purpose and Vocation?

FTE’s podcast on meaning, purpose and vocation is back starting September 10. Subscribe today on the platform you enjoying listening to. New to our podcast? We have 10 episodes ready for you to binge! https://fteonline.org/sotg

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By: Patrick B. Reyes September 08, 2021


Our Next Most Faithful Step

Over the past four years, Call To Action (CTA) has transformed our organization to center the vocational discernment of our members—especially our young adult members. Re/Generation is CTA’s intergenerational discernment program that gathers a cohort of young people from around the country, pairs them with a mentor from the progressive Catholic movement in the US, and over the course of 6 months helps them design and implement a project to address the injustices of the hierarchical Catholic church.

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By: Call to Action June 21, 2021


2021 Juneteenth and the Future

This week, FTE will honor Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, which has been observed by African-Americans since the late 1800s. Joining organizations that have moved toward marking it as a company holiday, FTE will celebrate Juneteenth or June 19th going forward to commemorate the ongoing struggle for racial justice and freedom.

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By: Stephen Lewis June 18, 2021


New from FTE: Sound of the Genuine Limited Audio Series

Sound of the Genuine is the Forum for Theological Exploration’s podcast exploring meaning and purpose. In each episode, we’re invited into the vocational journey of leaders of the church and academy. In the first episode of our limited audio series, Rev. Dorlimar Lebrón explores her call to ministry from suburban churches in New England to her current congregation in New York, the People’s Church, once home to the Young Lords.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes May 28, 2021


Is the Virtual Christian Leadership Forum for You?

We’re thrilled to announce the return of the Christian Leadership Forum (CLF), May 27-28, 2021! The CLF is a gathering focused on diverse leadership for Christian communities that serve as Christ’s hands and feet in the world. This gathering is for those who want to make a difference in the world through ministry and/or to inspire a new generation of Christian leaders, pastors, and scholars. This will be an online experience you don’t want to miss! Applications will open on April 5, but before you apply please read the information below to discern if this virtual gathering is for you.

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By: Experience Design April 05, 2021


Mentoring the FTE Way

The Forum for Theological Exploration’s family reunion is something not to be missed. It brings together generations of scholars who were mentored into and through our family networks. It takes place at conferences, on campuses, on Sundays, over coffee, and online. The FTE family reunion has a long history, one steeped in the sacred relationship known as mentoring.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes March 16, 2021


Empowering Young Adults with CARE

The Dominican Youth Movement (DYM) USA provides young adults the opportunity to establish impactful relationships, build faith, and strengthen their commitment to God, community, family, social justice, and the Dominican Order. DYM USA includes nationwide Dominican Young Adult chapters exploring community, prayer, study and preaching; and intentional living communities.

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By: Dominican Youth Movement (DYM) USA March 05, 2021


Get To Know Montague Williams

Meet Montague Williams, associate professor of church, culture, and society at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. He is also the author of Church in Color Youth Ministry, Race, and the Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. In his Q&A, Montague shares what inspired him to write this book, why churches need a re-reading of Dr. King’s work, how he views mentorship, and his hope for the next generation of faithful leaders.

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By: Angela Giles January 28, 2021


I am a Puente

As Puentes (bridges) our calling with young adult leadership development and sustainability, we use a process of collective exercises as we reflect on self-awakening questions. We invite both the left and right brain strengths for processing vocational calling.

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By: Vanessa Martinez Soltero January 12, 2021


This is America

In 21st century America, we continue to operate under the disillusionment of the American myth—that we are the “United” States of America. Contrary to popular belief, since its founding by design, America has been a divided, not a united country.

Yesterday was a stark reminder of this fact.

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By: Stephen Lewis January 07, 2021


2020 Excellence in Mentoring Award Announced

Established by FTE in 2017, the Excellence in Mentoring Award recognizes mentors in FTE’s doctoral community who demonstrate a sustained commitment to the advancement of scholars of color through integrative mentorship practices.

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By: FTE Leaders December 15, 2020


Discerning Another Way Forward: Accompanying Young Adults in the time of Social Distance

FTE’s 2021 grant applications are currently open for organizations to accompanying pastoral interns, mentoring programs for discerning young adults, and creating vocational discernment resources authentic for their community’s context.

Because of the pandemic, FTE is encouraging congregations and faith-based organizations not to propose the same projects they might in a time without COVID. Instead, we are asking those proposal creators to lean into that uncertainty of discernment that they are already so familiar with in their accompaniment of young adults. Lean into that uneasy feeling of trying something new, do something different, and ultimately find what is authentic at this moment.

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By: Heather B.P. Wallace December 10, 2020


Wrestling with the Deep Questions of My Life

I don’t know about you, but when I have had times of wrestling with deep questions, I don’t sleep much. I end up watching the moon turn into the dawn breaking. During this time of dealing with the restrictions, limitations and isolation that Covid has brought into my life, compounded by the realities that black lives do not hold equal value as white people’s lives in our country, I have been wrestling with a lot of thoughts and questions over the past six to eight months.

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By: Andrea Sawyer-Kirskey December 08, 2020


Get to Know Joe Ella Darby

Meet Rev. Joe Ella Darby, an FTE Alum based in Nashville, Tennessee, where she serves as the vacation bible school coordinator for the Sunday School Publishing Board and the assistant to the pastor for discipleship at First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill. She is also currently participating in a Chaplain residency program serving the VA hospital. In her Q&A, Rev. Darby shares what excites her most about FTE’s work, how her ministry has changed during the pandemic, and advice to young adults discerning their call.

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By: Joe Ella Darby November 19, 2020


The Ugly Truth About Church

Let’s be honest. The church is often not a hospitable space. Faith communities have centered the privileged and pushed others to the margins. Religious groups have tried to snuff out those with a burning zeal for justice in order to maintain the status quo. Ministries have dismissed many who doubt and ask curious questions.

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By: Rich Havard October 20, 2020


Stories From the Field: Oregon Fellowship

The Oregon Fellowship is a collaboration between Together Lab and the Oregon Synod. Watch, listen or read the conversation between pastors Ron Werner, Jr. (Together Lab) and Melissa Reed (Oregon Synod) as they share their four markers to create hospitable space within the Oregon Fellowship.

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By: Christina Repoley September 24, 2020


Get to know FTE’s Resource Design Team

In January, I shared that FTE underwent a redesign last year in response to a new strategic direction, a changing landscape and new questions emerging. This seems so long ago given how the two pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism have disrupted life as we knew it and turned our world upside down during the past five months.

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By: Stephen Lewis July 28, 2020


25 Questions from a South Minneapolis Pastor During the George Floyd Uprising

The police murdered George Floyd in the same neighborhood as my church, New City Church. Many pastors have reached out to me asking how they can help, and lately my most common response has been: start having conversations with your own people, because if this hasn’t happened in your neighborhood already, it certainly can.

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By: Tyler Sit June 05, 2020


Dark Moments Call for Faithful Leaders

The events over the past several days following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are the result of anger, grief, and trauma from the injustices and violence Black people have endured for hundreds of years.

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By: Stephen Lewis June 02, 2020

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