Bethany Fellows supports congregations and communities by inspiring and sustaining pastors in their earliest years of ministry. Bethany Fellows helps newly ordained, young pastors transition from seminary to sustained ministry with well-being and strength of spirit. In 1999, when Bethany Fellows began, almost 40% of young clergy left ministry due to burn-out, loneliness, or financial strain. For 25 years and with over 200 alumni, we celebrate that 90% of Bethany Fellows pastors and alumni are still in ministry, with 70% serving congregations. Bethany Alumni and congregations credit "The Bethany Way" of prayer, vulnerability, and connection for their thriving.
The Bethany Disciple Fellows and Bethany Ecumenical Fellows groups serve up to 70 young pastors each year in a four-year rhythm of retreats, mentors, and spiritual practices. While on retreat, Fellows receive the prayerful support of experienced pastors/mentors, encouragement of significant collegial relationships, and visits with dynamic congregations and faith leaders, fueling creativity and inspiration to share with the Fellows' own congregations. Through Bethany Fellowships, young ministers are better able to navigate the beginnings of a pastoral vocation, as well as crucial young adult life transitions, building confidence and strengthening leadership. In 2021, Bethany Fellows launched Bethany Congregations, bringing congregational leaders and their pastor(s) into a Bethany experience of retreats, small groups, contemplative prayer, and wise practice conversations. Bethany Congregations nurtures resilience in discernment and action among congregational leadership teams and their wider communities.
Bethany Fellows is proudly rooted in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and partners with Pension Fund of the Christian Church, facilitating the peer group component of Pension Fund’s previous Excellence in Ministry and upcoming Cornerstones programs.