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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.

2023 Lydia Fellows

Chaplain Angie F. Estévez

Chaplain Angie F. Estévez- Angie is a chaplain and oversees all religious services at a small jail in NH. She serves in a part time capacity for two churches on the North Shore in an administrative role.

Rev. Christine Hribar

Rev. Christine Hribar- Preaching Associate, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Beverly, MA, Handwork Teacher, Various families, schools, and homeschool groups
Develop and teach handwork: knitting, crochet, sewing, natural dyeing, embroidery,
basket-making, whittling, and fire building in classes that range from fortnightly, to
twice a week.

Rev. Tom Reid

Rev. Tom Reid- Pastor of Newton Presbyterian Church, Newton, MA. Manage the Building Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) Launchpad Fellowship, a national inter-university interreligious fellowship for undergraduate students, in partnership with Interfaith America (formerly known as Interfaith Youth Core), the premier interfaith organization in the U.S.

Rev. Liz Georgakopoulos

Rev. Liz Georgakopoulos - Pastor of Grace Federated Church of Boston, MA. Experienced Program Supervisor with a demonstrated history of working in the museums and institutions industry. Strong professional skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Event Management, Environmental Education, Management, and Fundraising.

Pastor Carmen Vega

Pastor Carmen Vega- Focused leader, with an unwavering Christian faith whose comprehensive nonprofit management experience includes strong administrative and capacity building practices, mental health and family counseling, operations management, and programmatic oversight with a focus on faith based and human service organizations. Vega also serves as associate pastor, Majes Worship Center.

Rev. Dr. Coralotta Darwin

Rev. Dr. Coralotta Darwin- Pastor of Lighthouse of Faith in Jesus Christ Church. A Certified Application Counselors through Masshealth & Health Connector beginning in March 2023-January 2024. She participate in assisting diverse organizations and cultures in obtaining health insurance in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Fr. Nicolae Alexandru Pretorian

Fr. Nicolae Alexandru Pretorian- I am a priest at the parish of Saint George in Pittsfield, MA.
I am also a theologian passionate about Biblical studies and International relations.
I have studied in Romania, Greece, and Germany to acquire the skills needed for a
researcher in Theology. I have a talent for foreign languages and for the use of modern

Rev. Xinyu Li

Rev. Xinyu Li- Minister/Pastor of the Lincoln Park Baptist Church (LPBC), Newton, MA. Served as Speaker to the Chinese students at University of Maine with the Chinese Gospel Church of Portland, Maine.

Min. Vicki Brownville

Min. Vicki Brownville- Founder and Overseer for the 12 Step Christian Recovery Ministry “The Message is Hope” since 1999. Licensed minister of the gospel (Community of Love Fellowship Church). Our ministry has but one purpose, to carry Christ’s message of HOPE and proper direction to men and women suffering from unhealthy behaviors. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other, praying for each other and always relying on God for guidance and wisdom.

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