Chicago Theological Seminary hosts an innovative national program specifically tailored for early career clergy, ministers, lay leaders, and seminary students who are from and/or serving economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities in the USA.

This new initiative closely aligns with our long-standing commitment towards developing faith leaders who are already transforming the world towards greater justice and mercy.


The Resilience in Leadership Initiative at the Chicago Theological Seminary (RELI) is a two-year Fellowship program designed to facilitate a full ecology of support for early career clergy, congregational ministers, lay leaders, and seminary students who are from and/or serving historically marginalized communities across the nation.

RELI is especially interested in connecting bi-vocational and first placement ministers through regionally-based cohort communities lead by contextually grounded and seasoned Mentors. By facilitating opportunities for authentic community, competency, and self-care, RELI seeks to develop deeper senses of meaning and professionalization in the vocational calling of our Fellows, to mitigate their feelings of pastoral isolation, and to increase their impact and effectiveness as agents of justice and mercy in the world.

In addition to facilitating professional relationships through these cohort communities, all Resilience in Leadership Program Fellows will be resourced with customized skill-building workshops and opportunities for respite and self-care. Program Fellows and mentors from across the country will also take part in our program’s annual gathering in Chicago (October 10-13, 2019).

The Resilience in Leadership Initiative is designed to make participation as worry-free as possible. Program Fellows are provided with travel stipends, access to pulpit supply funding, hospitality, and full coverage for the program’s fees and tuition.


Our Fellows Program is for early career clergy, ministers, lay leaders, and seminary students already doing ministry in the United States. Seminary graduates are eligible as long as they have graduated within 5 five years. Clergy from and/or serving under-resourced and marginalized communities are especially encouraged to apply. The Resilience in Leadership Initiative gives particular attention to first-appointments, especially those serving as solo or bi-vocational ministers.

In 2019, Program Fellowship cohorts include: (1) the greater Chicagoland area, (2) North Carolina, (3) Michigan, (4) Wisconsin, (5) Washington DC, and (6) New England.


To learn more about this exciting new program, please check out our FAQ page HERE.

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