Two residencies in our Presbytery launched through 1001 New Worshiping Communities. Apply now to be a part of leveraging new and innovative expressions of the church in Chester alongside TM Thomas Memorial Presbyterian and Kensington with Beacon.

T.M. Thomas Memorial Presbyterian Church and Aston Presbyterian Church Residency Program

An Urban/Suburban Collaborative Worshiping Community

The Urban / Suburban Collaborative Worshiping Community is the budding ministry of Thomas M Thomas Memorial Presbyterian Church, located in Chester and currently the only PCUSA congregation in that city, and Aston Presbyterian Church, a suburban congregation just on the other side of Chester’s limits.

The Urban/Suburban Collaborative Worshiping Community is an eleven-month residency that elevates the vitality of urban and suburban partnerships for ministry in the twenty-first century. These networked efforts foster critical relationships across varied contexts and empower young people who live in communities whereby they are uniquely vulnerable to poverty, violence, drugs, and incarceration. The resident, while supervised by TM Thomas pastoral leadership, will also work alongside both the TM Thomas Memorial and Aston Presbyterian Churches and appropriate leadership of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

The Context: Recently, the two congregations have forged a partnership and leveraged various ministry efforts as they seek to engage the pressing realities of a small city outside Philadelphia that is strained by violence, poverty, drugs, and a broken education system that perpetuates pipelines to poverty and incarceration.

The aim of the Urban/Suburban Collaborative Worshiping Community would be to build upon existing and develop new relationships and utilize varied assets of Chester neighborhoods and residents to generate a formative and contextualized faith community that empowers youth and young adults to be faithful disciples and local leaders in Chester, PA

Ideal Applicants: Interested applicants in this Urban/Suburban Collaborative Worshiping Community would need to be committed to partnership models for ministry that work across suburban and urban contexts, collaborate with leaders in the local school systems, engage local community agencies, and learn alongside residents in the city of Chester. The ideal candidate would have a strong yet flexible theological background and an ability to intersect faith, culture, heritage, and social issues in efforts to incarnate the good news of Jesus Christ alongside their neighbors and community partners. Applicants should be open to and/or have experience in in the creative arts, awareness of socio-political systems and their impact on community development, and the ability to evaluate the assets, needs, obstacles, and opportunities of urban neighborhoods pertinent for the formation of a relevant faith community.

Beacon Church Residency Program

Beacon is a recently chartered church that strengthens our community of Kensington in Philadelphia through art, storytelling, and faith.

Since 2011 Beacon has been re-envisioning worship and what it means to be a faith community as a part of the 1001 New Worshiping Community movement, an initiative of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Both Beacon and the 1001 NWC movement are thrilled to invite applicants for a special pastoral residency at Beacon.

The Context: We are in a post-industrial context that is rapidly gentrifying, which presents us and a future resident many opportunities of how to grow a sense of community across deep cultural and socio-economic chasms. We do this work through explanatory, freshly-written liturgy in worship, facilitating relationship growth between neighbors at community art events, recruiting, training, and maintaining a volunteer base for our weekly after school literacy program at our local elementary school, and hosting twice-monthly meals that gather people to mobilize them for good in the field of social justice. Residents will have a leadership role in all programs, though some may include more delegation than others, according to skill set and sense of vocation.

The pastoral residency at Beacon is a residency for the faith-motivated entrepreneurial in the 21st century. Residents participate in all aspects of Beacon’s life and work: leading worship, building relationships with community members and organizational partners, designing curriculum, supporting community programming, participating in board meetings, and learning about grant-writing, administration, and leadership from one of Beacon’s founding pastors. Beacon offers both one- and two-year tracks for residency. If interested in the two-year track, the first year would be spent as an immersive learning experience on the ground at Beacon and the second year would be a hybrid of refining skills at Beacon and doing the groundwork to begin a different new worshiping community in another area of the city.

Ideal Applicants: The ideal applicant to this residency program at Beacon has an appetite for risk, a commitment to doing what needs doing to accomplish an overall mission, an openness to learning about how things have come to be at Beacon as a test case for his or her future ministry, and an appreciation for and commitment to clear communication The ideal resident lives and breathes a theology of incarnation: loving first, storytelling second. She or he works well on a team, taking direction from his or her supervisor, but is also willing to “own” a program—to be responsible for its execution and success, from start to finish. The ideal applicant knows how to get away from the job when needed but when at the job, is truly present.  She or he takes the gospel incredibly seriously but the institution and him or herself much less so.

1001 New Worshiping Communities Residency Program Information

 Selection Process

A discernment team selects candidates for the program.  In addition to possessing the qualities described above, an ideal candidate for the NWC Residency will possess an interest in journeying with a community to see them grow in awareness of God’s work and presence in their lives.  She or he delegates and equips people to take responsibility for their faith practices and has excitement and enthusiasm about starting things from scratch.  He or she is an unapologetically Christian leader who is savvy about loving and meeting people where they are.

Financial Support

Residents will receive housing and a stipend of $17,500, plus a health insurance grant of $1,500. Residents also will take part in an advanced national training (costs covered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency) with 1001 apprentices and other residents this summer in Kansas City.

Submit applications, including letters of reference now!

For more information about 1001 New Worshiping Communities follow us on Instagram @1001nwc and contact [email protected]