The Rev. Gail Cafferata Awarded Grant

The Rev. Gail Cafferata Awarded Grant

by the Rev. Dr. Gail Cafferata, Associate, Incarnation, Santa Rosa; Interim Supply Priest, St. Andrews-in-the-Redwoods; Visiting Researcher, Boston University School of Theology and Center for Practical Theology

The Rev. Dr. Gail Cafferata was awarded a 2015 Louisville Institute Project Grant for Researchers for her study “The Last Pastor: Adaptive Challenges and Well-Being among Protestant Clergy Closing their Churches.” Through its Project Grants for Researchers Program, The Louisville Institute supports innovative strategies for investigating adaptive challenges faced by North American Christianity. Grants up to $25,000 support a diverse range of projects that may involve independent study, short-term research, consultation or collaborative inquiry. The Project Grants for Researchers Program is open to both academic and pastoral leaders based in the United States or Canada.

Pastor Gail’s national, ecumenical study of pastors in five mainline denominations studies how pastors who served churches that closed exercise agency to respond to adaptive challenges in the context of relationships with the congregation, the judicatory and others. It seeks to understand how the process of closing a church affects the pastor’s understanding of their pastoral identity, their vocational decisions, spiritual life and family. While resources have appeared about pastoral ways to close a church, no one has studied how clergy talk about God and live the Gospel during this process, or how closing churches affect the pastors who lead them. The research’s goal is to support pastors, judicatories, denominations in this crucial transformative ministry.

Louisville Institute is funded by the Religion Division of the Lilly Endowment and based at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky). The Institute’s fundamental mission is to enrich the religious life of North American Christians and to encourage revitalization of their institutions, by bringing together those who lead religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work might inform and strengthen the other.

Pastor Gail is an Associate Priest at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa, an Interim Supply Priest at St. Andrews in the Redwoods and a Visiting Researcher at Boston University’s School of Theology and Center for Practical Theology.



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