The mission of Sustainable Faith, an ecumenical nonprofit, is to foster spiritually healthy cultures among leaders and their faith communities. Our project, the School of Ecclesial Life (SEL), will emphasize and extend the second part of our mission while continuing to attend to the first. Our constituency, derived over 12 years of training spiritual directors, hosting wellbeing retreats, offering workshops, and speaking in churches, consists primarily of Protestant pastors who have shown interest in bringing spiritual formation and contemplative practices to their congregations. SEL will focus on resourcing small to mid-sized, parish-style congregations pastored by emerging leaders who are building neighborhood-centric communities. Using key learnings from our well-established, international, cohort-based School of Spiritual Direction (SSD), SEL will provide an expert facilitator to accompany these leaders and their congregations through a 21-month, outcome-based, assessable and replicable program in which they clarify their values, cultivate shared practices, learn their neighborhoods and respond with a culturally attuned and nuanced mission. Each of our three proposed cohorts, launched annually, will receive up to four churches and 12 leaders (three leaders per church), making room for 12 churches and 36 leaders over the initiative’s initial run. Following the model of SSD, a key strategic goal of SEL will be to train capable facilitators to establish SEL cohorts in their respective regions across the U.S.
School of Ecclesial Life