The primary mission of Project Access is to provide an academic bridge by supplementing and enriching the theological and ministerial education in seminaries with courses and activities directly addressing the myriad issues facing individuals underserved by educational systems. Project Access aims to be a ‘passport’ for students into the new theological world that they are entering. Seminarians coming out of religious traditions often categorized as theologically conservative frequently face a unique set of challenges within the context of mainline seminaries.
To address the specific needs of these students, Project Access will provide opportunities for contextual and culturally competent learning in which the starting point of theological reflection is the seminarian’s experience and context. The program seeks to create space for theological reflection within her/his own cultural context and community. Project Access will also allow students to build a supportive peer network both within their own seminary and among peers across the country.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Project Access participants will engage in programming designed to supplement their theological education. PA will offer intensives and distance learning opportunities with faculty who have experience within both the culture, and the academic realities of seminarians from underrepresented populations. Seminarians may participate in the program for up to two years. Regional and/or national intensives will be offered in July and January and webinars will be offered at various times throughout the year. Ongoing mentorship and academic writing/research coaching will be available to Project Access participants for the duration of their engagement in the program. Project Access programming is designed to fill in the gaps with contextual programming not offered at many seminaries. The program is not to replace coursework taken for academic credit. No academic credit will be provided for participation in the program – unless coordinated by the student as a possible directed study opportunity.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Project Access welcomes applications from individuals currently enrolled in a graduate-level or certificate program at least part-time (as defined by your institution) at an ATS accredited theological seminary. Persons who have been accepted at a seminary and are confirmed to enroll are also eligible to apply. Verification will be required.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Thanks to the generous support of the E. Rhodes and Leona B Carpenter Foundation, there is no tuition associated with the program. In addition, participants will receive airfare, two nights of shared hotel accommodations and several sponsored meal events.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Applicants are required to submit a completed application that should include a registrar’s signature verifying both enrollment and good academic standing. The application materials can be downloaded by clicking here.
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM), founded in 2000 by Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, has become a spiritual epicenter for many of the persons described above. As a trans-denominational coalition of Christian leaders and laity representing churches and faith-based organizations from the USA, Africa, Asia, and Mexico, TFAM is comprised of churches that range from ultra-conservative backgrounds to more liberal, independent churches; from startup, developing to very large, established churches, and from churches that are economically challenged to the very affluent. The overriding purpose of TFAM is to support religious leaders and laity in moving toward a theology of radical inclusivity which, by its very nature, requires an equally radical social ministry reaching to the furthest margins of society to serve all in need without prejudice or discrimination.
While TFAM experiences a wide diversity of training experiences among its leaders, many of the pastors, ministers, deacons, and organizational leaders come from backgrounds that do not require theological preparation. Gifted and graced with charisma, some of these leaders often lack formal education for ministry. In addition, many have come from backgrounds where the theological worldview does not match their lived experience. It is our experience that radical social and theological work/ministry requires a radical “recalibration and re-tooling” of learned theologies and ministry praxis – the kind of reorientation that is designed to take place in the laboratory of seminary training.
Rev. Kendal Brown Program Manager, Project Access The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Email: firstname.lastname@example.org