Clergy Members Complete 'Healing Fellowship'

January 9, 2024

On Saturday, Jan. 6, the Howard Thurman Center at HIU awarded its inaugural certificates to graduates who successfully completed The Healing Fellowship program. The program was made possible through funding from the Connecticut Health Foundation, the state's largest health philanthropy.

An initiative for social justice, The Healing Fellowship created a pilot program designed to address high rates of burnout, fatigue, and depression among Black and Latino pastors. It was an opportunity for pastors to gather in a safe and confidential setting to share their experiences and challenges of ministry today. Moreover, they developed relationships to support one another in mutual ministerial work and studied best practices in church-based mental health services.

Beverne Cordner, Associate Director of the Howard Thurman Center, said, “A part of our strategic vision for the Howard Thurman Center is that we offer opportunities for clergy to collaborate across denominations and across regions, to engage in professional development, and to access the Academic and Pastoral Resources that we have on site and online."

"We want the HTC to become a resource center for research, writing, and support to clergy, especially clergy whose churches are serving in high need areas that are experiencing economic and health disparities or social injustices. The Healing Fellowship is one of the HTC’s programs designed to upskill our clergy to be effective leaders in their work.”

Participants had the opportunity to:

  • Identify their strengths, current challenges, and needs to engage in their ministries.  
  • Explore some of the skills needed to practice self-care effectively.  
  • Further clarify their sense of call and vocation in the midst of uncertain times. 
  • Identify and strengthen their pastoral leadership skills.
  • Receive private individual therapeutic counseling at no cost.
  • Receive individual spiritual direction at no cost from a trained professional.

The fellowship facilitator was Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Streets, Adjunct Associate Professor of Divinity and Social Work at Yale Divinity School. Four participants received their certificates of completion.

About the Howard Thurman Center

Named after a national icon who promoted the idea that out of religious faith emerges social responsibility, the Howard Thurman Center for Justice and Transformational Ministry expands HIU's efforts to create social change by empowering change agents who can become effective advocates for their own communities. The Center, launched in 2022, is the home of the Black Ministries Program (BMP), which began in 1982.

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