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Lydia Fellows Cohort of 2023

By July 12, 2023No Comments

by Rev. Kenneth Young, Associate Director & Lydia Fellows Program Director


Church, we are so excited to report that the Lydia Fellow Program is back! Lydia Fellows Program is funded by the Lilly Endowment. We received the funds to work with bi-vocational or multi-vocational pastors and clergy. The Lydia Fellows Program started in 2019. The Massachusetts Council of Churches is grateful to work with the bi-vocational clergy. New England churches are seeing a rise in bi-vocational pastors and clergy. Massachusetts Council of Churches is looking to learn and grow from listening to the narratives of bi-vocational clergy.

picture of computer screen with eight different pastors listening to one anotherThe Lydia Fellows Cohort of 2023 includes the Rev. Faith Tolson (Framingham), Rev. Dr. Evan Hines (Boston), Rev. Christine Schrade-Keddy (West Acton), Rev. Dawn Adams (Brimfield), Rev. Miranda Kwon (Melrose), Chaplain Ylisse Bess (Wellesley), Pastor Damaris Taylor (Boston), Rev. Douglas Stivison (New Bedford), and Rev. Gregory Baker (Assonet). The clergy persons range across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and bring wisdom, skills, and perspective. The cohort will learn and prayerfully grow together throughout the year. The group will grow through sessions that include “Controlling Your Preaching Calendar,” “Preaching on the Go,” and other meaningful sessions. The work is exciting and significant in meaning-making.


The Lydia Fellow Kickoff was on April 29, 2023  at St. Mark Coptic Church in Natick, Massachusetts. Father Samuel Hanna (MCC Board Member) was a gracious host to the Lydia Fellows. We got acquainted and introduced the concepts of the program to the group. We thank God that we seek unity across denominational lines. Father Samuel Hanna brought a special guest visiting the St. Mark Coptic Church to the meeting room. The Egyptian Monk was able to give blessings to the Lydia Fellows and share his narrative with the group. Dr. Emmett G. Price III shared his story during the kickoff as our special guest speaker of the hour. Dr. Price II of Berklee College of Music gave uplifting words about bi-vocational ministry. Price gave thoughts to the highs and lows of bi-vocational ministry. Lastly, Madeliene Forrer (MCC Board Member) gave encouraging words and market tips to the Lydia Fellows.


On May 24, 2023, the Lydia Fellows held its first session with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Paris Smith, Sr. of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Smith gave tips and knowledge on controlling your preaching calendar. Smith shared his personal preaching calendar and taught the cohort how to prepare a yearly preaching calendar. He also told the group how he prepares a weekly sermon according to the calendar and liturgical calendar. We are grateful for Rev. Dr. Smith’s expertise in preaching and creativity.


Church, we hope you will continue to keep the Lydia Fellows in your prayer as we learn more about bi-vocational ministry. Please lift up the speakers and administration as we grow this program to bless the churches across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.