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Benefits of a Vocational Friendship

Several months ago a member of my congregation in suburban Houston told me that her sister in Boston was dying. My congregant was doing everything she could from afar, but as anyone who has lost a loved one knows, it’s a daunting process. As she headed up to see her sister one last time, I told her that my best friend from seminary was a pastor in the area and I would put them in touch.

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By: John Allen & Nathan Bledsoe September 16, 2015

Affirmations of Calling

I had the opportunity to meet and engage women of color that have pursued ministry and preaching as a vocation through FTE’s Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant; The grant was such a tremendous blessing as it enabled me to develop relationships with women that have utilized their experience and/or understanding of grief in their respective ministries.

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By: Natasha Patterson August 27, 2015

Seven Questions with Leah Gunning Francis, Author of “Ferguson & Faith”

With the timely release of Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis discusses the significance of her work for faith communities and emerging Christian leaders.

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By: Leah Gunning Francis August 19, 2015

A Reflection on My Ministry Exploration and Mentoring Grant Experience

Today, nearly a year after my proposal was selected, I can say with unfettered confidence that this experience has proven to be transformative, empowering, and pivotal in my quest for bodily confidence within the community of faith.

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By: James Howard Hill, Jr. August 17, 2015

The Sublime Power of Belief

At particular historical moments events overwhelm our usual use of words and categories. Such was the martyrdom of the Saints at Mother Emmanuel on June 19th, 2015.

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By: Stephen Ray July 28, 2015

Theological Education After Ferguson and Long Island and Baltimore and Charleston and….

If theological education could previously assume a future apart from the questions of difference and diversity, this last year shattered such delusions. Ferguson. Long Island. Baltimore. Charleston.

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By: Eric D. Barreto July 17, 2015

The Ministry of Surrender

Productivity. Efficiency. Results. These are three highly regarded values of the work culture that I came from.

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By: Cailin Choy July 14, 2015

The Stillness

As we were sitting at the table having deep, meaningful conversation about our lives and the various stages of our journey, one of my colleagues made a statement that shook me to my core. “What are you afraid of in the stillness?”

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By: Fran Davis-Harris July 01, 2015

Racism: The Most Sinful of Legacies

People of color have known from personal and community experience that racism is still rampant. The Charleston massacre is forcing the United States to face itself.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra June 24, 2015

What Is Thy Name

In the eighth chapter of Luke’s gospel Jesus is confronted by a man possessed by demons. The man is nameless, but is given a narrative. He is naked. He is homeless and finds rest among the dead in graveyards. He is depicted as one who is suffering.

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By: Hassan Henderson June 23, 2015

Active Faith is Urgent

It’s incredible how quickly things can change. Just three weeks ago, FTE gathered leaders of many ages, races, and church traditions to explore what it means to live out an “active faith” – a faith motivated by a deep religious conviction that what God is doing in this world bends toward justice and that we are called to be active partners in that transformation.

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By: Chris McCain June 19, 2015

The Birth of Goodness

I got to welcome a new life into the world this week. After 30 hours of helping my friend labor, I watched in amazement as a new child was born. Having lost a baby to stillbirth 14 years ago, I witnessed this live birth as a healing deep in my soul.

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By: Dori Baker June 19, 2015

Re-Arranged by the Spirit

During the Forum opening, Stephen Lewis, among others, repeatedly said, you matter, your work matters. For sure that falls differentially across bodies, but I experienced a sense of being washed over; crisp water waving over me making the cracked parts supple.

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By: Amy R. Barbour June 17, 2015

Vocation in Between the Aftermath of Violence and a Hoped-for Future

What future does God envision for us? What future do we long to see? What are we willing to do to give shape to it? These questions, written by FTE President Stephen Lewis, are ringing in my ears as I follow on-the-ground reports of what’s happening in Baltimore ...

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By: Dori Baker May 01, 2015

To Follow a Call

What does it look like to be a woman in ministry? At FTE’s East Coast Discernment Retreat in Black Mountain, NC, I met many examples of women in ministry including Tiffany Thomas, a United Methodist pastor who began preaching at 15.

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By: Kate Stoltzfus April 29, 2015

Tooth Fairy

Last week I attended a retreat in Black Mountain, North Carolina hosted by the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE). The main point that I took away was that God’s ministry can be present in the work I want to do – animal therapy. If God is truly calling me, I can get there. But in order to get there, I have to continue to accept the experiences in my past.

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By: Katherine Mockler April 28, 2015

Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Every two weeks, I have a standing date with three of my favorite people in the world. We gather online over laptops and lunches in Boston, New York, and Nashville for a time of communal learning and fellowship. Together we form quite the motley millennial crew.

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By: Jennifer Bailey April 22, 2015

Marking Vocational Transitions Faithfully

I was only 20 years old when a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship church hired me – a devoted United Methodist to serve as Assistant Minister for Youth. At that point in my life, I was certain of my place in the church.

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By: Rob Lee April 21, 2015

Our Becoming

Normally when I hear terms like “church retreat” or “staff retreat”, I mentally prepare to not be able to, well, “retreat”. However, my most recent experience with the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) proved otherwise. I was extremely fortunate to be nominated by Mission Year to attend FTE’s Discernment Retreat in Lake Arrowhead, California.

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By: Cailin Choy April 08, 2015

Falling Deeper Into My Calling

Last week a kid died in the alley by my office. A homeless kid. He overdosed and fell into a deep forever-sleep by the mail truck next to my office. His name was Dylan.

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By: Margie Quinn March 25, 2015

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