Institutes & Initiatives

Launched in 2014, Union’s VISION program supports and encourages a diverse group of faith leaders at mid-career to think out loud together and explore new directions in ministry.

VISION participants partner with respected civic leaders, distinguished Union faculty, and experienced mentors who share a commitment to the goal of creating healthy communities and houses of worship.

VISION has found that collaboration is key to building leadership skills and cultivating resources for ministry. Participants in the Collaborative will engage with the faculty and administration of Union Theological Seminary, community leaders and seasoned pastors at each evening seminar.  We will host conversations that invite shared expertise and inspired collaboration.  And we’ll address the challenges and rewards of faith leadership across traditions and denominations to imagine and re-imagine the work of faith leadership.

If you have questions, contact [email protected].

Why envision new directions in ministry?

Research finds that wise faith leadership develops over time – and that support for learning across the arc of ministry is integral for developing and sustaining the work of faith leaders.1

As an inaugural cohort member of the VISION program, and a Mentor for the current cohort, I have become acutely aware of the need for faith leaders to mentor and be mentored; VISION invites collaboration from diverse faith traditions and endeavors to continually re-imagine the work and relationship between community and ministry. - Rev. Audrey Williamson

Hear more from VISION cohort members.

What have we learned so far?

Thinking Out Loud Together is Key to Strengthening Leadership
As the capacity for and practice of leadership grows with experience gained, that growth demands new forms of support and contexts for reflection.  Collaboration is key to growth.

Collaborative Relationships are Key to Learning
Over the course of the program, experienced mentors meet with participants during monthly seminars and annual retreats.  They also visit participants’ places of worship.  Collaborative relationships expand participants’ network of faith and civic leaders, and help participants envision what is possible for their own congregations and communities.

VISION has exposed me to new urban ministries, civic leaders, and new partnerships. These have expanded my pastoral imagination and built my confidence as a pastor. - Pastor Arden Strasser, VISION Cohort 2

Christian A.B. Scharen and Eileen R. Campbell-Reed, “Learning Pastoral Imagination: A Five-Year Report on How New Ministers Learn in Practice,” Auburn Studies (2016):20.

VISION has been made possible thanks to generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.