The Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship
The Genesis of the Fellowship
The Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship grew out of a capital campaign named The 921 Fund undertaken by Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (MAPC) in 2005. MAPC has a tradition of tithing the funds raised in its capital campaigns. In the past, this was accomplished through drawing up a selection of gifts representing different components of MAPC’s ongoing mission outreach ministry. For the 921 Fund, MAPC established a committee to formulate such a plan for allocation of funds, but this time it was decided to allocate the funds towards one major project.
The 921 Fund's work coincided with a growing interest at MAPC in outreach ministry in south central Africa. The committee worked with various mission partners, including Presbyterian Church (USA) global mission co-workers in Africa, who had established relationships within and beyond the Church in south central Africa. One of these relationships was with Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ), an ecumenical organization based in Kitwe, Zambia, that delivers theological training programs to lay leaders in their home churches and villages throughout the provinces of Zambia. It was discovered that TEEZ was seeking additional human resources that would help it achieve its mission of bringing theological education to lay-people of Zambia. With these considerations in mind, the committee explored the concept of developing a two-year program that would open an opportunity for outstanding seminary graduates to begin their pastoral ministry with an immersion experience in the Global South (referred to by some as the “developing world,” and formerly labeled the “Third World”), the center of activity, energy, and growth in the 21st-century Church. MAPC’s connection and partnership with TEEZ was by all accounts providential. The fellowship, initially known as the Global Ministry Fellowship, was subsequently named for Phillips Talbot, elder, United States ambassador, diplomat, journalist, author, educator and visionary, and committee member who himself had benefited from a similar fellowship as a young reporter years before in India. Upon Dr. Talbot’s death in the fall of 2010, the fellowship, which he was instrumental in founding, was named in honor and memory of him.
The Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship is a two-year program that provides selected recent seminary graduates who are certified ready to receive a call to ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA), with an immersion experience in the Christian Church in the Global South. The intention is not to recruit young pastors for mission service, but rather to help them experience and benefit from the dynamics of doing ministry in the church in the Global South. Such experience indelibly shapes the pastoral outlook and character of such leaders for the rest of their ministries, and thus helps ensure that the emerging leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) understand the dynamics and opportunities for ministry and partnership in a globalized context.
The Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship begins on June 1 in the year of graduation from seminary with a three-month Pastoral Residency on the staff of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Following the orientation to the program, as well as to MAPC itself, the Fellow reports to TEEZ in Kitwe, Zambia, for twelve months of ministry beginning in September. The primary work of the Fellow with TEEZ includes leadership training, course production and review, general communications and interpretation, and may also include pastoral work in a prison ministry initiative. Opportunities for preaching and pastoral work in local congregations of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) and other denominations, which abound in and around Kitwe, can also be arranged through negotiations with the leaders of the relevant synods. At the end of the twelve months of teaching and other ministry, the Fellow is expected to spend the next ten weeks in independent travel throughout Africa and other portions of the Global South. After two weeks of vacation leave, the Fellow returns to MAPC December 1 to spend the next six months in mission interpretation, education and pastoral ministry as a part of the MAPC staff, as well as in search for the next call.
The Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship is supported through a $1.3 million endowment. The Fellow is chosen each year from a slate of nominees referred to MAPC from seminaries and divinity schools across the country. To be eligible, a nominee must be a Candidate for ordination as a Teaching Elder (Ministry of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and must be on track to be certified ready to receive a call by June during the initial year of the fellowship. The fellowship is open to both single and married applicants and in two cases has sent clergy couples to Zambia to serve out the fellowship. Application may be completed on-line through this site. The deadline for all applications and all supporting material is February 15, of the year the fellowship begins. Selection of the Fellow will take place in April of that year, following an interview of finalist candidates in New York in late March or early April.