The Journey Group program is designed to create unique support spaces for our clergy. Based on feedback from debriefing session participants, goals established during the development of CAIRN, and the recent increase in need for clergy care during this time, the CAIRN Leadership Group and Alliance staff are working to launch a pilot program this fall.
Participants in the Journey Group program will be able to journey, for a time, with a supportive small group of other clergy around similar topics, identities, themes, and/or interests. This is a wonderful way to meet other Alliance clergy, connect with others seeking a space to be outside of their ministry setting, and become a part of an exciting new program that both provides resources to our clergy and fosters opportunities for our clergy to share their insight, resources, and presence with each other.
A general framework for the groups will be provided to all participants, with the understanding that flexibility is needed and each group will have their own specific goals, hopes, and circumstances during the process. Suggestions for a “spirit of the group” framework might include:
- A virtual or in-person gathering with your Journey Group at least once a month;
- Occasional check-in or communication (via social media, text, e-mail) with your group members to share readings, provide encouragement, seek support, etc.;
- Participate in one “retreat” space a year (online or in-person) with your Journey Group, dedicating at least a half-day to exploring a theme/topic and deepening spiritual practice or care in some way;
- Share ideas and collaborate with other Journey Groups via shared file, document, newsletter, etc., as the group might find it helpful (the Alliance staff and CAIRN Leadership Group can help provide logistics for spaces to organize workshops, larger online gatherings, etc. around your group topic); and
- Provide feedback on the Journey Group program to Alliance staff and CAIRN Leadership Group (feedback forms will be sent out during the program).
Journey Group applicants will have a chance to either form their own group of 5-7 clergy/ministry leaders or apply to be a part of a group based on a region, theme, identity, or other area of interest from across the larger applicant pool. Each Journey Group will have a leader (a “guide”) to be the main point-of-contact and facilitator for the group. [Note: we are working to provide a small honorarium for each guide during this pilot program.]
To read more, check out our Journey Group FAQ page: (see below)
To apply to the Journey Group program, complete the online application:
Online applications are due by October 5, 2020, at midnight (your local time).
Journey Group FAQ
Who can apply for the Journey Group program?
Any Alliance clergy/ministry leader--or any clergy/ministry leader who has an interest in ministry and work of the Alliance. No membership required!
We hope to have participants from various ministry settings, life stages, backgrounds, and interests. Whether you are full-time, part-time, taking time away, retired, multi-vocational, in school, or in between settings, we encourage you to apply if you feel like a support space with other pastors and leaders in ministry can be helpful for you during this time and/or if you can help support your peers as well.
Can seminary students apply for this program?
Yes, seminary students are encouraged to apply for this program. We will have an opportunity for seminary students to join seminary student Journey Groups or apply to be a part of a group around a topic/theme that fits their ministry setting and interest.
Is there a fee to be a part of this program?
No, this program is free. We do encourage participants to support the work of the Alliance through a financial gift, if they are able. This is not a requirement or expectation to participate in the program though.
Will each Journey Group receive funding for activities and programs?
Since this is a pilot program, we have some limited funding that will be available for groups. This can help provide reimbursement for books and some other smaller expenses. We are also working to provide a small honorarium for the group leader/guide. Due to some generous foundation support, we have additional funding to support groups focused on BIPOC clergy, LGBTQIA+ clergy, and clergy of new start congregations/communities. If you identify in one or more of these three groups and would like to join a group of similar clergy, please make a note on the application.
What is the time commitment for the Journey Groups?
For this pilot program, we are asking participants to commit to be a part of the program through June 1, 2021. This provides a seven-month period of time for participants and allows time for feedback and assessment on how we will continue into the next year. After the pilot program, we anticipate annual commitments for the program. We expect to have an option for each group to continue beyond this time, if they choose to do so.
The time commitment during this period really up to each group. A general framework will be provided, but each group will have flexibility to achieve their goals and needs during this time. We anticipate that you will see this time as something to look forward to, instead of a burden.
Can I form my own Journey Group?
Yes, you have the option to organize your own group of 5-7 clergy for a Journey Group. Each prospective participant in the group will need to apply for the deadline and note their interest in your group on their application. Additionally, please note if your group has a particular topic/theme/interest.
I’m interested in being a guide/leader for a Journey Group. What do I do?
Please note your interest on the application form. We will provide additional information to each group guide/leader after the groups are organized. The guide will be the main point-of-contact for Alliance staff and the CAIRN Leadership regarding your Journey Group and will help facilitate the group logistics.
What is the timeline for the application period?
The application timeline for the 2020-2021 cycle is below:
- September 14th - Application & Information Launch
- Optional Information Sessions
- Session 1: 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET
- Session 2: 7:00 p.m. ET
- October 5th - Application Deadline by midnight local time
- October 12th - Notification of tentative journey groups
- October 19th - Participants confirm their participation and interest
- November - Journey Groups have their first session/event/activity