ECF Announces 2017 Fellows

May 31, 2017

New York, NY — The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has named five 2017 Fellows – Jennifer Adams-Massmann, Stewart Clem, Ashley Graham-Wilcox, Renee McKenzie-Hayward, and David Peters.

The Fellowship Partners Program is ECF’s longest running program and has supported emerging scholars and ministry leaders across the Episcopal Church for more than fifty years. Established in 1964 to identify academicians who intended to teach in seminary classrooms, the program continues to support emerging scholars and ministry leaders who have a passion for forming the next generation of leaders in the Episcopal Church. A full list of past recipients is available here.

ECF President Donald Romanik extended his congratulations to the 2017 Fellows saying, “The Fellowship Partners Program embodies ECF’s vision for the future of the Church, fostering theological formation and ministerial leadership, while supporting innovative scholars and leaders as they bring their passionate vision to life. This year’s Fellowship recipients are involved in a variety of initiatives that will help the Church move into exciting, new directions. We look forward to partnering closely with them over the next three years.”

The five recipients’ scholarship and ministry projects demonstrate a Church that is actively engaged with the world. The 2017 Fellows are addressing the value of truth-telling in an age of fake news, developing an understanding of congregational life through the lens of trauma, strengthening veterans’ ministries, researching the role of women in ecumenical history, and expanding key Episcopal institutions’ access to and interest in a more diverse Church. Read more about each of their projects below.

The 2017 Fellows are:

Jennifer Adams-Massmann: Jennifer is a Ph.D. candidate in American religious history at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and an Episcopal priest. Jennifer’s dissertation project deals with the first Protestant women missionaries: the Moravians. Memoirs, mission records, and travel diaries reveal their unprecedented leadership roles and influence, but also other gendered aspects of early Moravian missions including female networks, piety, and discourse which shaped the nature of early missions. Jennifer plans to share her research with the church and wider public through various media: a book publication, academic journals, popular magazines or radio podcasts, conferences, or teaching. Her goal is to help Christians engage appreciatively but critically with our past in order to address today’s challenges. Jennifer received her B.A. in English literature and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School, with studies abroad in Germany and Switzerland. Ordained in 2007, she worked in university and parish ministry in the US and Germany before beginning doctoral studies. She has taught courses in American religious history at the University of Heidelberg and church history with the Cambridge Theological Federation in the UK. She recently moved to England, where she lives with her husband Alexander, a German theologian and ethicist, and their son.

Stewart Clem: Stewart is a John Templeton Foundation graduate scholar and doctoral candidate in Moral Theology & Christian Ethics at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on the ethics of language, with a special emphasis on lying and truth-telling in contemporary society. His current project draws upon the thought of the scholastic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas to develop an account of the virtue of truth and its opposing vices. One aim of the project is to suggest ways in which faith communities can cultivate this virtue, arguing that a just community must also share a commitment to truthfulness. Stewart serves as Assisting Priest at St. Paul’s Church (Mishawaka, Indiana) and is a frequent contributor to Covenant, the weblog of The Living Church magazine. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University (M.A., B.A.) and Duke Divinity School (M.Div.), and his essays in philosophy and theology have appeared in journals such as New Blackfriars, Religious Studies, and the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics.

Ashley Graham-Wilcox: Ashley is Director of Communications for Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers, the nationwide network of the summer camps, retreat centers, and conference centers that serve as a front line of welcome of the world to the Episcopal Church. Ashley’s goal is for campers and retreat center guests to always feel themselves welcomed and see themselves reflected when visiting an Episcopal camp or conference center. The 86 sites and over 100 programs in Episcopal camping and retreat ministry serve incredibly diverse audiences, through summer camp, retreats, conferences, outdoor education, and teambuilding programs. This fellowship aims to expand, rethink, and empower how we welcome those diverse audiences and reflect our communities, through programming, training, and staffing. Ashley worked in high tech marketing and advertising, before finding her calling in the rad and radical hospitality of camping and retreat ministry.

Renee McKenzie-Hayward: Renee is the Vicar of the George W. South Memorial Church of the Advocate located in Philadelphia PA within in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania; she has served this congregation as well as Temple University as the Episcopal Chaplain since 2011. Renee received her PhD from Temple University in 2005 with a concentration on Womanist Thought and the Philosophy of Religion. The Church of the Advocate sits at the center of a historically black community, adjacent to Temple University. As an established community hub offering a variety of social service programs, the Advocate is a central place for the community to organize for social justice. Generational and sudden trauma extracts a great toll on this community. Renee’s project will develop a Trauma Informed Ministry that understands the human cost of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and informed by Womanist and Liberation Theologies. The proposed project will enhance the Advocate’s work by organizing the ministry under a framework of healing trauma. Trauma Informed Ministry will the lens that informs relationships and services offered with and among congregation members and community. Staff and congregational leaders will better understand the manifestations of trauma, allowing the traumatized to heal via a holistic approach to wellness addressing the needs of the mind, body and spirit.

David Peters: David enlisted in the Marine Corps in his teens, finished college and seminary, and went to work as a youth minister in a suburban church in Pennsylvania. Shortly after 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq, David volunteered to serve as an Army chaplain and deployed to Iraq in 2005. After Iraq, he was assigned to the amputee and psych wards of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. These experiences in war and the trials of homecoming led him to start the Episcopal Veterans Fellowship in the Diocese of Texas in 2014. The EVF equips the Church for ministry to veterans with moral injury and the spiritual and theological affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This grant will enable David to travel to parishes and dioceses across the Church to nurture existing veterans ministries and coach parishes and dioceses as they start new ones. David is a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest and the author of two books on war and reconciliation. His most recent is Post-Traumatic God, published by Church Publishing in 2016. An engaging preacher, his 9/11 sermon, “Learning War and Reconciliation,” won the Reconciliation Preaching Prize from Trinity, Wall Street in 2015. If you would like David to come to your parish or diocese to share the work of EVF, please contact him at runnermonk@gmail.com