Dr. Allison Norton to Direct Pastoral Innovation Network of New England

Dr. Allison Norton

Hartford Seminary is pleased to announce that Dr. Allison Norton will serve as Project Director for the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England, an initiative spearheaded by Professor Scott Thumma with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Dr. Norton will direct the project for the next five years as it addresses building the innovative capacity of New England clergy. She will also continue as Faculty Associate in Migration Studies and Congregational Life with the Seminary.

Dr. Norton, who has been a post-doctoral fellow at the Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research for the past two years, said she is excited about supporting “New England clergy and denominations in engaging the most pressing challenges they face today.”

She added, “It is a joy to continue working at the unique place that is Hartford Seminary as an associate faculty member, with its rich legacy of religious research, interfaith education, and commitment to strengthening religious communities to understand and live faithfully in today’s multi-faith and pluralistic world.”

Hartford Seminary learned in October that Professor Thumma’s proposal for the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England had received $1 million in funding from Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry initiative. The initiative supports religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.

Professor Thumma’s project directly addresses the increasingly barren and infertile soil for congregations in New England by building a network of highly creative and entrepreneurial clergy nominated from across the region’s Mainline judicatories.

As Project Director, Dr. Norton will coordinate efforts to bring clergy together for regular gatherings, mentoring sessions and virtual communications. The first cohort will meet for 2 ½ years and then serve as mentors for the second cohort. The ultimate goal is to develop an ongoing initiative that will foster and sustain clergy innovation and creativity as well as developing mentors for other regional clergy.

Hartford Seminary will be accepting applications for the first 20 cohort members at the website http://pastoralinnovationnetwork.org/, which will be public soon.

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