Skip to main content

The Massachusetts Council of Churches recognizes the continued struggles of pastors serving in part-time ministry positions across Massachusetts.  We’re hearing this both from leaders of our member denominations and through our regular visits to local congregations. As part-time positions are rapidly increasing in New England, we see three major barriers to thriving in part-time ministry: financial pressure, time management, and pastoral identity.

The Lydia Fellows program will address these barriers by increasing connectivity, esteem, authenticity, and engagement through financially compensated fellowships.

Chaplain Ylisse Bess

Chaplain Ylisse Bess serves as College Chaplain and Christian Life Coordinator at Wellesley College. Additionally, Ylisse is the Program Director for BUSTH’s Trauma-Responsive Congregations grant.

Rev. Damaris Taylor

The Rev. Damaris Taylor is a new church start pastor and entrepreneur in Boston.

Rev. Dawn Adams

Rev. Dawn Adams is the pastor at the First Congregational Church of Brimfield, MA.

Rev. Gregory Baker

Rev. Gregory Baker is the pastor of the United Church of Assonet.

Rev. Miranda Kwon

Rev. Miranda Kwon is the Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church of Melrose, and a US Army Chaplain Reservist.

Rev. Faith Tolson

The Rev. Faith Tolson is the Associate Pastor at Community of Love Christian Fellowship and a public relations advocate.

Rev. Christine Schrade-Keddy

The Reverend Christine Schrade- Keddy is the Pastor of the West Acton Baptist Church and Elder Ministry Coordinator for The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts.

Rev. Douglas Stivison

Rev. Douglas Stivison is the pastor of the First Congregational Church at Lund’s Corner in New Bedford. He holds a Master of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary and has served both Presbyterian and Congregational churches in New Jersey and Massachusetts for the past twenty years.

About the Program

The Lydia Fellows Program will support Pastoral fellows who will meet over the course of 1 year for retreats, fellowship, pastoral support and peer coaching. Through these gatherings and ongoing peer support, we will increase connectivity among part-time pastors; we will increase the esteem for the skills, creativity, and complexity involved in part-time ministry; and we will increase the sense of authenticity and engagement among pastors serving in part-time positions. Ultimately, the Mass Council of Churches desires to create spaces for pastors to flourish in part-time settings, providing new models of vibrant ministry for the Church in Massachusetts.

This program will support pastors from a wide variety of denominations and traditions who work in the Church in less than full time positions.  These pastors may identify as part-time, bi-vocational, underemployed, or as working multiple jobs out of economic necessity.

The Massachusetts Council of Churches offers $500 stipends to Lydia Fellows for their time in the program with hopes of making learning and peer consultations possible for a new group of pastors seeking to grow in community and share best practices for supporting part-time ministry.

Our Goals

  • Increase the connectivity among part-time pastors, developing networks of support
  • Increase the esteem for the skills, creativity, and complexity involved in part-time ministry
  • Increase the sense of authenticity and engagement among pastors serving in part-time settings

This program is generously supported by The Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry initiative. 

Apply to the Lydia Fellows Program

We are accepting applications for our next Lydia Fellows cohort from February 1, 2024-February 29, 2024.

Review Application Requirements