The Communities of Calling Initiative invites congregations to design new projects or enhance existing ministries to help Christians discover and deepen their sense of God’s calling in their lives. The Collegeville Institute serves as the hub where our 14 partner congregations gather to learn from each other throughout the 5-year program.
The Initiative is a five-year project funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc.
14 partner congregations will participate in the 5-year program of creating and sustaining efforts around vocation in their local community.
Applications are due July 1, 2018. Our partner congregations will be announced by mid-August 2018.
However, we also have a wide network of interested congregations working on vocation in their own contexts. Sign up for our e-newsletter for ideas to explore calling with your congregation!
We believe the most fruitful efforts around vocation involve a 3-pronged approach: pray, study, and work.
Drawing from the Rule of Saint Benedict—which infuses the Collegeville Institute’s approach—we encourage congregations to pray as they discern how to engage calling, study diverse theologies of vocation, and work on vocation in multiple areas of church life: worship, education, and service.
Rather than seeing vocation as simply a topic for a sermon series or 6-week small group offering, we want to help churches integrate calling into the life of their congregation.
The Communities of Calling Initiative is housed at the Collegeville Institute, located on the campus of Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota—home to Saint John’s Abbey, The Saint John’s Bible, the Pottery Studio, and Collegeville’s scenic lakes and woods.
The project timeline will unfold over 5 years:
2018 – Congregations apply by July 1. Acceptances will be sent out by late August. Participants attend an opening retreat in Collegeville (choose between Oct. 8-10 or Nov. 5-7, 2018).
2019 – 1st meeting in Collegeville: June 24-26, 2019.
Teams finalize project plans and submit a grant proposal by August 1st to fund their project for up to $30,000 over 4 years. Projects launch in fall 2019.
2020 – 2nd meeting in Collegeville: June 22-24, 2020.
Congregations launch, test, and evaluate projects. Teams gather virtually to share findings and learn practical skills. Program director visits congregations to provide project support.
2021 – 3rd meeting in Collegeville: August 9-11, 2021.
Congregations continue to evaluate and refine projects. Participants can join a pilgrimage to Israel (June 3-17, 2021) to explore biblical stories of calling, led by two New Testament scholars and a local Palestinian guide. (50% of ground travel costs will be covered for up to 28 participants.)
2022 – 4th meeting in Collegeville: June 20-22, 2022.
Congregations work to sustain their ministry efforts over time—so that vocation becomes integrated into the life of the congregation.
Vocation is the heart of the Christian life. We believe people are created for relationship with God who calls to us all life long and invites our creative response.
Through our years of study, research, and reflection on vocation in the Collegeville Institute Seminars, we have seen transformations happen when individuals and communities come to see their lives as part of God’s purposes in the world.
We believe that rediscovering vocation—as both the general calling to discipleship shared by Christians and our particular callings (to people, places, and work)—can help revitalize the local church for its mission in the world.
We’re eager to deepen our theological work on calling (and discover new directions) alongside congregations in the Communities of Calling Initiative.