Disciples News Service

Ecumenical collaboration brings Hope Partnership to broader audience

Submitted by Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation

Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation has entered into an innovative new collaboration, which includes Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), to offer transformational services to three close ecumenical partner denominations.

Starting in 2014, presidents of several mainline Protestant church extension funds began meeting to identify common dilemmas related to struggling congregations and subsequently determine how they can best work together to support their shared goals. As a result of these conversations, Hope Partnership will expand its network and coordinate the delivery of ministry and capital planning services to congregations in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

“We will continue to dedicate our expertise, experience and resources to live out God’s call to help Disciples congregations thrive and transform communities,” says Gilberto Collazo, president of Hope Partnership. “But, the need to redefine and reimagine ministry opportunities is not unique to Disciples congregations.”

“This is a great opportunity for collaboration,” says Rick Reisinger, president of Disciples Church Extension Fund. Under this new partnership, each church extension fund will contribute financial and operational support to train and coordinate the expanded ecumenical network of assessors and facilitators needed to deliver transformational and capital services to member churches.

Hope Partnership supports local churches through leadership development services that equip clergy and lay leaders to guide their congregations toward an invigorated ministry future. Its four main programs include (1) New Beginnings, for the congregation that knows it can’t continue ‘as is’ but doesn’t yet know what to do; (2) Epiphany, for the congregation longing to become a transforming presence both inside and outside the church’s walls; (3) Mission Pathways, for the congregation that wants to move forward and needs a plan; and, (4) Recasting, for the cluster of congregations seeking to unleash Spirit-filled energy from working in community.

Living into the foundational Disciples calling to let Christian unity be our polar star, Hope Partnership and DCEF enter into this new collaboration with the Cornerstone Fund (UCC), the United Church of Christ Building and Loan Fund, the Episcopal Church Building Fund, and the Presbyterian (USA) Investment & Loan Program, Inc. “We are excited to be a part of this visible expression of true ecumenical partnership,” says Gilberto Collazo.