The Sewanee Ministry Collaborative

In 2018, the School of Theology received a generous grant from the Lilly Foundation to establish a clergy mentoring program. The Sewanee Ministry Collaborative was formed and consists of 52 members across eight cohorts of clergy. Each cohort has agreed to meet together for three years, and each cohort represents one of the following ministry areas: Black ministries, Latino/Latinx ministries, rural ministries, and alternatively formed clergy.

The cohorts meet virtually every month for mutual support, learning, and friendship. A variety of learning opportunities are provided for the cohorts from lectionary-based preaching webinars to book studies to in-person conferences. 

Events and Resources

The SMC hosts a monthly “Lunch and Learn” series where we engage topics relevant to our current ministry contexts. These have been Zoom conversations rather than webinars as a way of allowing for our diverse community of learners to be in conversation. If you would like to access the recording of one of our conversations or provide ideas about future topics are of interest to you, please contact the Director of the Sewanee Ministry Collaborative the Rev. Giulianna Cappelletti Gray by email—

Past Events




SMC Lunch & Learn

Conversation with Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith: 7 Types of Rest

May 12, 2022

Noon CST

I hope you will join us this Thursday, May 12th at 12 CST for a special online Lunch & Learn conversation with Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith who will help us consider how we can get the types of rest we need to sustain us in our vocations. She will consider the particular rest deficits experienced by those of us who expend our energy on the work of spiritual leadership, teaching, and pastoral care, and she will suggest ways in which we can be rejuvenated. Our guest is an internal medicine physician and the author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity who has written and researched extensively about 7 distinct types of rest.




SMC Lunch & Learn

Revisiting the Past and Reshaping the Future

April 21, 2022

Noon CST 


You may view the video recording here with Password. 
 Join us for a discussion of the ways in which the current bishop of the Diocese of Vermont is helping her diocese explore the life and legacy of the first bishop of Vermont, John Henry Hopkins, and together shape a new future Panelists:The Rev. Dr. Ben King, professor of Christian history, associate dean for academic affairs, and director of advanced degrees at the School of Theology is a church historian and contributor to the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South will speak to the life and legacy of John Henry Hopkins. The Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown, 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, will discuss the ways in which she is helping her diocese take steps toward cultural transformation.

SMC Lunch and Learn
The Gifts and Graces of the Small Church 
March 31, 2022
Noon CDT


The Rev. Theodora Brooks, vicar of St. Margaret’s in the Bronx for 25 years, will share the gifts and graces of the small church that have caused her to say “yes” to this same ministry context for so many years. Brooks is the team leader for the Black ministries’ cohorts.

The Rev. Chad Jones is the priest-in-charge at Resurrection, Franklin, Tennessee, and canon for congregational development in the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee. Jones has a love for small churches and an awareness that some small churches are called to grow, heal, and redevelop.

The Rev. Allison Sandlin Liles, priest-in-charge of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Hurst in the Episcopal Diocese of North Texas. She will discuss what she has learned from being a part-time priest in charge and discuss the new joint project she and some colleagues have begun “Small Church, Big Impact”.


Feb. 24, 2022
A Conversation with the Rev. Dr. Tara Soughers
Discussion of Beyond a Binary God: A Theology for Trans Allies, and a presentation about the five best practices for communities that want to be better trans allies.

You can view the video here with password:

Jan. 14, 2022
Search Processes Today
How have search processes changed since the pandemic? What trends are we seeing, and how can we as clergy navigate searches during this peculiar time with healthy doses of both realism and hope? The Rev. Meghan Froehlich, director of the Office of Transition Ministry, will join us as we ask these questions. Meghan will be joined by at least one transition ministry colleague who will share their hands-on experience as well.

You can view the video here with password:

Dec. 10, 2021
Church Redevelopment and Church Planting
The Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers and the Rev. Tom Brackett from the Episcopal Church Center will join us to share insights about church redevelopment and planting new faith communities. Katie and Tom work as colleagues on the presiding bishop's staff (Katie in the church planting arena, and Tom in redevelopment). We discover how their work intersects, learn which models they believe to be most fruitful for today's church leaders, and find out some of their favorite leadership tips. 

You can view the video here with password:


Bread for the Journey: 2021 Sewanee Ministry Collaborative Fall Summit and Retreat

This retreat has been designed as a retreat. Whether you are participating from home or a retreat center, please accept this schedule as an invitation to participate in your own self-care.

Participants will have time to reflect, connect, rest, and imagine what food for the journey may await them in our new and future wilderness. When Jesus observed that “many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat (Mark 6:31), he encouraged his disciples to “come away to a deserted place and rest a while.” Together, we will encounter those practices and visions that may provide us with the daily bread we need for this challenging time of ministry.
In-Person Gathering: Oct. 18–21 at Camp McDowell, Alabama. 

Hybrid Gathering: Oct. 19–21 from a location close to home. 

Conference Program

Joining us in-person, with links for livestream, will be the following:

  • The Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers, the Church Planting Officer in the presiding bishop's office. Rengers has a refreshing perspective on the current and future church. 
  • The Rev. Richard Cogill, director of contextual education at the School of Theology will serve as our spiritual director. Cogill sometimes mentions being a "monk at heart." He will lead the conference in regular worship and be present for conversation and prayer.
  • The Rt. Rev. Glenda Curry, Bishop of Alabama, will preach and preside at our Holy Eucharist on Tuesday morning. The hybrid group will watch her sermon together as we begin our time of retreat on Tuesday afternoon. Bishop Glenda will work with the road to Emmaus in her reflection with us, encouraging us to imagine how the living Christ is present here and now.
  • The Rev. Dr. Jeanine Driscoll, psychologist and priest who has served on the leadership of the SMC, will present virtually about self-compassion and help run our virtual reflection groups.

Questions? Contact the Rev. Giulianna Gray,

Video Recordings

Below are videos that may be watched on your own time. The links to these videos will be added as they become available.

Hybrid Conference Schedule
If the links in the pdf do not work for you, download the document and then copy and paste the link into your browser.


Individual Spiritual Direction by Zoom
 We have two trained spiritual directors that will be available to speak with participants for one-on-one sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 20.


Presently, spiritual direction is available by appointment with Cynthia Crysdale for 10 a.m., 11 a. m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m.


Spiritual direction available by appointment with Jeff Akamatsu at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. To schedule spiritual direction, email the Rev. Giulianna C. Gray at by Tuesday at 9 p.m., both your 1st and 2nd choice of times/date for spiritual direction. 


What is spiritual direction? 
Spiritual Direction is a spiritual practice involving an intentional relationship for the purpose of cultivating greater depths of relationship with God, other people, all of creation, and the self. The Holy Spirit is the director. The spiritual director offers attentiveness, holy listening, and guidance to another in order to strengthen and enliven the directee’s spiritual life, which enables:

  • Increased awareness of God’s presence
  • Greater responsiveness to God’s call
  • Transformation in intimacy with God
  • Growth in our risen life in Christ."