May 2021 Newsletter
What We’re Hearing from Rural Pastors in The Moses Project
Director, Dr. Trisha Wheelock
For the 2020-2021 cohort, these past ten months have been everything but normal. Ministry has been difficult. Navigating a pandemic, CDC guidelines, a heated political election season, continued racial tension, and concern about the rural economy have brought some pastors to a breaking point.
More than ever, pastors crave connection, safe places to ask questions and express discouragement, opportunities to discuss new ideas, and just relax.
At our recent May gathering, nearly 40 rural ELCA pastors traveled to Des Moines to re-connect with their mentors and mini-cohorts, reflect on what it means to thrive in ministry, learn about resiliency from Tod Bolsinger, worship at the newly renovated Luther Memorial Church, hear remarks from President Kent Henning, and enjoy the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines. Some of the cohort met each other for the first time. After a difficult year in ministry, all enjoyed the fellowship and camaraderie.
Here’s an excerpt from an email we recently received: “Just wanted to drop a note to say thank you for the Moses project. I wanted to say I’m grateful for the connections I’ve made. Surely I do feel less alone in ministry than when I started. That is a rich gift indeed.”
Another pastor shared with us, “I was ready to quit ministry last Fall. Because of the relationship with my mentor and with the fellow pastors in my mini-cohort, I stuck it out. I’m so glad I did. Thank you!”
In a time when division and tension have been frequent, we're thankful to keep learning, make new friendships, and join colleagues in the journey of ministry. One of our Moses Project pastors reflecting on the difficulties of this past year said, "Moses Project was SUCH an awesome experience! I honestly don't know if/how I would have made it through this past year without the support that was provided--and I know I gave support too as we all leaned on each other in a safe an nurturing environment."
Thank you for the joy of working with pastors in your synod. We hope their time with the Moses Project helps them thrive in ministry.