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Young Clergy Women International

Young Clergy Women International (YCWI) is a network of the youngest ordained clergy women, defined as those under forty. YCWI started out in November 2006 as an idea about getting young ordained women together to talk online, and was launched as The Young Clergy Women Project (TYCWP). In 2007, they received a grant from The Louisville Institute that supported our preaching conference, board meeting, and web page. These initial funded programs generated more ways for young clergy women to connect.

Fidelia’s Sisters, an e-zine by, for and about young clergy women, began on October 1, 2007. YCWI encourages face-to-face connections through annual national and regional gatherings for young clergy women.

YCWI is grateful for the support of the Lilly Endowment, the Center for Congregational Health and most recently The New Media Project at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. As a community that primarily gathers on-line, YCWI has shared with the New Media Project in a collaborative project to understand how social media boosts community resulting in a case study on our ministry. As part of this relationship with the New Media Project, YCWI received a grant to create a newly designed website with Faith Growth to include all of the dynamics of their energetic community including their publications, conferences and the thriving conversation among young clergy women around the world. YCWI has identified the need for nurture and support of those that are discerning a call into the ministry. To this end, we created a group for Future Young Clergy Women to encourage those pursuing the ministry.

In 2008 Chalice Press and Young Clergy Women International entered into an agreement for members of YCWI and Future Young Clergy Women to work with Chalice Press on the production and publication of projects selected by a YCWI peer review panel. Sales of YCWI Series books earn royalties which support the authors and help fund their ongoing programs in support of young clergy women.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is also the author of Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community (Chalice Press, 2015). She interviewed more than two dozen clergy and young activists who were actively involved in the movement for racial justice in Ferguson and beyond. Dr. Gunning Francis researched and wrote Ferguson and Faith while serving as the Associate Dean for Contextual Education and Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2012, Dr. Gunning Francis was awarded the prestigious Engaged Scholars Fellowship to study issues of risk among middle-class African American young men. She argues that the meta-narrative about young black men puts all of them “at risk,” regardless of socioeconomic class, and utilizes the narrated experiences of black mothers to construct a new narrative about young black men that honors their humanity and is concerned for their well-being.

Dr. Gunning Francis’ additional research interests focus on transformative education as reflected in her doctoral dissertation, Beyond “Band-Aids” and Bootstraps: Toward a Womanist Vision of Christian Education as Social Transformation. Her writing reflects her commitment to the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of women, men and children; and highlights her particular interest in underserved and minority communities.

Dr. Gunning Francis has served as an adjunct professor for the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and has provided pastoral leadership for congregations in Georgia, Illinois and Ohio. She has received numerous awards to include the Candler School of Theology’s G. Ray Jordan award for excellence in integrating academic study with constructive leadership and service, and the Fund for Theological Education’s Doctoral Fellow Award.

Dr. Gunning Francis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Hampton University; a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

A native of Willingboro, New Jersey, Dr. Gunning Francis is married to Rev. Rodney Francis. They live in Indianapolis with their elementary school aged children.



Books by Leah Gunning Francis
Faith Following Ferguson