In 2018, the Iona Collaborative at Seminary of the Southwest, received a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. through the wider Thriving in Ministry Initiative to support pastoral leaders in congregations in various ways. Through this grant, the Iona Collaborative began and developed the Thriving in Bi-Vocational Ministry (TBVM) program to offer peer mentoring and continuing education classes to support new or recently ordained bi-vocational priests and deacons who serve in various ministry contexts across The Episcopal Church.
“The goal of TBVM is to help clergy thrive in their pastoral settings and congregational leadership and, in doing so, to enhance the vitality of the congregations and communities they serve,” shared Rebecca Hall, Programs Director of the Iona Collaborative.
This Fall as part of the Iona Collaborative’s TBVM initiative, participants of the program were invited to Seminary of the Southwest’s campus for a three-day retreat. Each cohort spent time getting to know each other, beginning their work together in their course, and exploring the Seminary’s campus and Austin. Each Iona Collaborative TBVM continuing education course lasts nine months from September to May and includes an in-person gathering (COVID permitting).
This year the Iona Collaborative is offering six continuing education courses through this program with some of those being Preaching and Ministry: Paul in Lectionary Year A, Pastoral Care in the Congregation and Community, and First Year in Charge: Mentoring for Priests. Three of the cohorts met on SSW’s campus and the other three cohorts met in Houston and Camp Capers in Waring, Texas.
“Our TBVM participants have thoroughly enjoyed coming to the Seminary’s campus to not only meet and bond with their cohorts in person, but to immerse themselves in SSW life for a few days as Iona Collaborative locally formed alumni,” said Rebecca Hall.
The participants of the TBVM program who traveled to Austin enjoyed seeing the Seminary’s campus and participated in several campus activities while in town including attending the Thursday evening Eucharist in Christ Chapel, meeting with Booher Library staff, and even went shopping in the bookstore for some essential Seminary of the Southwest sweatshirts and Thuribull socks.
If you would like to learn more about the TBVM program, please visit the Iona Collaborative website.