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Wespath and Gammon Partner to Address Financial Wellness for Underserved and Pandemic-Impacted Clergy

7/21/2022

A shared vision for systemic change will strengthen the resources available to underrepresented clergy groups

Gammon Theological Seminary and Wespath's Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative today announced a partnership that will expand the programming and resources used to help United Methodist clergy address financial challenges, with a special focus on underserved/underrepresented and pandemic-impacted pastors. Together these organizations seek to discover new ways to share materials, connections and strategies that support their shared vision.

United Methodist-related Gammon Seminary in Atlanta is a globally-recognized resource for faith-based solutions to the socio-economic challenges confronting the African-American community. Gammon is a well-known and trusted Wespath partner that will help the Initiative bridge the gap between Initiative resources and under-served pastors. Gammon will help to inform this effort by sharing research about the effects of COVID on clergy of color and their communities. Using its findings, Gammon and the Initiative will partner with other UMC organizations to design and implement financial well-being activities, resources and programs that meet the needs of clergy of color, including distribution of financial resources. This week, Gammon will launch a survey for clergy of color requesting input on their personal experiences related to COVID. The feedback gathered from this survey, along with other research, will be valuable in shaping the Initiative’s ongoing priorities.

"This partnership with Wespath emerged as a result of our inaugural research project focused on the Impact of COVID on Black UMC Pastors, Leaders and Congregations report shared in November 2021," explained the Rev. Dr. Candace M. Lewis, President-Dean at Gammon. "The Gammon Research Institute seeks to amplify the voices of Black and Brown Clergy of Leaders sharing concerns, needs, opportunities and stories of hope and resilience. This partnership directly includes a financial investment and commitment to supporting the long-term recovery needs of underserved UMC pastors COVID has adversely impacted. Additionally, Gammon has hosted listening sessions among pastors from communities including Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American brothers and sisters. The stories of loss and grief are heartbreaking. We are grateful we can help directly connect resources with pastors who have needs."

The Initiative was recently awarded a $250,000 grant as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders (ECFPL). ECFPL seeks to improve the financial acumen of clergy who, in turn, will go on to lead and grow vibrant congregations in the churches they serve, unburdened by financial stress. This grant includes an additional award of up to $250,000 if dollar-for-dollar matching funds are secured from United Methodist sources.

"Wespath is pleased to partner with Gammon on this important work to strengthen ministry by addressing inequities in communities of color," said Andy Hendren, General Secretary and CEO of Wespath. "For generations, people of color have shouldered disproportionate challenges that were further exacerbated by the human, economic and social impacts of the pandemic. We look forward to supporting vitality and financial acumen among clergy of color to help lift these long-underserved communities."

For more information on clergy financial literacy partnership opportunities please contact Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis, deanclewis@gammon-itc.org, or Bonnie Marden, clergyfinance@wespath.org.


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